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Bharat bandh highlights: Trade unions protesting on non-existent issues, says Arun Jaitley

Bharat bandh LIVE updates: The two-day strike launched by 10 trade unions on Tuesday led to sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal, and hit normal life in Odisha and Kerala. Other states, however, remained largely unaffected by the strike.

By HT Correspondent | Jan 09, 2019 22:31 IST

The two-day strike launched by 10 trade unions on Tuesday led to sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal, and hit normal life in Odisha and Kerala. Other states, however, remained largely unaffected by the strike.

Wednesday is the second and last day of the strike, called by workers pressing for social security provisions and better wages, among other demands. Follow live updates here:

9:30 pm IST

Trade unions protesting on non-existent issues: Jaitley

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Wednesday accused the Left-affiliated trade unions of manufacturing a protest on non-existent issues, saying the NDA government has taken a host of decisions for the welfare of workers.

His statement comes on the second day of the ‘Bharat Bandh’ organised by ten central trade unions to protest against the alleged anti-labour policies of the Centre.

“If the Left trade unions insist on politicising the trade union movement to manufacture a protest on non-existent issues, it is for the workmen in the country to seriously analyse what the present government has done for them and compare it with the relatively blank record of several earlier governments,” Jaitley said in a Facebook post titled ‘The Present Government and the Workers’.

8:40 pm IST

SBI treasury branch at Thiruvanathapuram attacked

Parts of Kerala continued to be in disarray Wednesday with trains blocked and a SBI branch vandalised while in Karnataka an effigy of the Prime Minister was burnt but rest of the south was largely peaceful on the second day of the two-day nationwide stir.

In Kerala, a treasury branch of the State Bank of India at Thiruvanathapuram was attacked by a group of people.

8:35 pm IST

Banking operations hit in MP

Banking operations in Madhya Pradesh remained affected Wednesday, the second day of the two-day strike called by central labour unions.

Around 14,000 employees from 5,000 out of the total 7,426 bank branches in the state stayed away from work on Wednesday as well, Madhya Pradesh Bank Employees’ Association chairman MK Shukla told PTI.

Except State Bank of India, employees of 20 government banks took part in the shut-down, he added.

8:05 pm IST

Strike evokes mixed response in Chhattisgarh

The two-day strike against the Central government’s alleged anti-worker policies on January 8 and 9 evoked a mixed response in Chhattisgarh which remained peaceful during the stir.

Services in key sectors like banking and insurance, however, were affected.

7:50 pm IST

Normal life affected in Tripura

Normal life in Tripura was affected for the second day on Wednesday due to the nationwide shutdown called by 10 central trade unions in protest against the “pro-corporate, anti-workers and anti-people policies” of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

7:30 pm IST

SBI branch attacked in Kerala

Train services were disrupted, public transport remained off roads and an SBI treasury branch attacked on the second day of the nation-wide trade union strike, even as shops in suburbs of major towns in Kerala were open on Wednesday.

6:35 pm IST

Cheques valued over Rs 20,000 crore not cleared due to strike

Clearance of cheques valued over Rs 20,000 crore was affected by the bank strike that continued for the second day on Wednesday, said the All India Bank Employees’ Association (AIBEA) -- a leading union in the banking sector.

In a statement issued here, AIBEA said cheques worth about Rs 20,000 crore could not be cleared by the clearing houses all over the country.

6:15 pm IST

School students injured in stone pelting by strike supporters

Some school children were injured in stone pelting as sporadic incidents of violence were reported from parts of Bengal on Wednesday, the second day of the two-day nationwide strike called by central trade unions protesting against the ‘anti-people’ policies of the Centre.

The general strike in Bengal had also put up a picture of CPI(M) and Congress joining hands to ensure that the general strike takes place in Bengal.

6:10 pm IST

Banks, post offices affected in Gujarat

Banking and postal services continued to be affected in Gujarat on the second day of the two-day strike called by central trade unions Wednesday.

Unions also staged protest marches and demonstrations in major cities, said Arun Mehta, general secretary of the Gujarat unit of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU).

6:00 pm IST

Violent protests, rail blockades

Sporadic incidents of violence in West Bengal and Kerala and rail blockades in certain states were witnessed Wednesday on the second day of Bharat Bandh, which also saw a partial disruption of banking and insurance services across the country.

Other sectors like mining, road transport, power supply too bore the brunt of strike call given by country’s 10 major central trade unions, except RSS affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh, to protest against the government’s alleged anti-labour policies and unilateral labour reforms. They had given a call for a two-day Bharat Bandh on January 8 and 9.

5:15 pm IST

Train services in Eastern Railway zone disrupted

Train services in Eastern Railway zone were disrupted Wednesday after supporters of the Bandh resorted to blockades at many places. A suspected bomb was found on the railway tracks at Ashoknagar in Sealdah-Bongaon section that led to suspension of train services in the route.

4:47 pm IST

Commuters face hardship in Mumbai

In Mumbai, lakhs of commuters faced hardships as an indefinite strike called by BEST, the city’s civic transport undertaking, continued. There were only five buses plying on city roads.

4:26 pm IST

Some impact of strike seen in Goa

Some impact of the strike was seen in Goa as private buses and tourist taxis remained off roads. Long queues of passengers were seen at various bus stands after the private buses association in the state shut operations.

3:45 pm IST

Trains stopped by protesters in TN, banking services hit

Trains were stopped by protesters at a few places in Tamil Nadu and banking services in some public sector banks interrupted in Telangana but life largely remained unaffected Wednesday during the second day of the two-day nationwide stir.

3:30 pm IST

Bus services affected in Karnataka

Bus services were Wednesday hampered across Karnataka on second day of the two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions against the alleged repressive labour policies of the Narendra Modi government, officials said.

3:15 pm IST

Textile, spice shops in Kochi open

Most textile and spice shops in Broadway Market in Kochi and Mittayi Theruvu (sweet street) in Kozhikode are open. Sabarimala pilgrims, tourists, social and religious functions have been exempted from the strike

3:00 pm IST

Shops, commercial establishments shut in Thiruvananthapuram

In many places in Thiruvananthapuram, shops and commercial establishments remained shut. Buses and autorickshaws were off the roads. Many shopkeepers alleged that they were asked by protesters to down their shutters.

2:50 pm IST

CITU worker arrested for pelting stones at BJP protest

A CITU worker, who allegedly hurled stones at a BJP protest in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday, arrested.

2:37 pm IST

Trains blocked in Kerala

At Thiruvananthapuram railway station, the Thiruvananthapuram-Hyderabad Sabari Express and Venad Express were blocked, while the Kottayam-Nilambur passenger train in Kalamassery was held up for a while.

2:10 pm IST

RJD, SP, HAM, Left participate in strike in Patna

RJD, SP, HAM and Left parties participate in the two-day nationwide strike in Patna.

11:40 am IST

Close to 400 arrests in Bengal on Tuesday

357 men and 34 women were arrested from different parts of Bengal on Tuesday on charges of disrupting public life.

11:35 am IST

Police arrest two accused of attacking examinees

Police arrest two agitators on charges of attacking the car of two examinees who were going to the exam venue in Memari in East Burdwan district on Tuesday. TV footages revealed that the culprits did not spare the vehicle even after the examinees pleaded with them saying they have exams to write.

11:25 am IST

Tension Bengal’s Midnapore town

Tension spread in Midnapore town of West Bengal when two processions, one by the Left in favour of the strike and another opposing the bandh, came face to face.

11:20 am IST

Strike supporters attack SBI main branch in Kerala

Strike supporters attack SBI main branch in Thiruvananthapuram and destroyed office equipment and furniture. Employees who were on work manhandled. Police book 20 persons. This happens a day after the state government promulgated an ordinances against destruction of public properties.

11:00 am IST

Protesters vandalise bus in Bengal, two injured

Protesters vandalise government bus in Dinhata, Cooch Behar, West Bengal; two people, including bus driver, injured, police present at the spot. Another bus was vandalised in Suri town in Birbhum district.

10:25 am IST

Kerala crippled on second day of bandh

Kerala crippled on second day of bandh. Road and rail services blocked at many places. Shops opened in some areas with police help. People are seen stranded outside train and bus terminals. Sabarimala pilgrims are also affected

10:10 am IST

Students injured after protesters pelt stones at bus in Bengal

Two students injured after protesters participating in the two-day nationwide strike called by central trade unions pelt stones at a bus at Shanpur Mor in West Bengal’s Howrah district.

9:47 am IST

Vehicles vandalised in north Bengal town

Two passenger vehicles vandalised in the north Bengal town of Cooch Behar.

9:40 am IST

Left Front meeting to chalk out strategy

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty’s detention trigger meeting of Left Front leaders to chalk out a strategy to spread the agitation in Kolkata and suburbs.

9:26 am IST

CPI(M) activists detained in Kolkata

CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty, along with other protesters, detained by police in Jadavpur, Kolkata, while they were participating in the two-day nationwide strike called by central trade unions. He was detained on Tuesday too from the same area.

9:24 am IST

Bengal govt issues warning to agitators

West Bengal transport minister Subhendu Adhikari says the administration is determined not to allow agitators paralyse the streets.

9:20 am IST

Jute mill workers on strike in Bengal

Workers did not report for work in several jute mills in North 24 Parganas district.

9:10 am IST

Stones hurled at bus in Bengal

Reports of stones being hurled at a bus in Dasnagar in Howrah district of West Bengal that injured two students.

9:00 am IST

Train services disrupted in Bengal

In Bengal, train services were disrupted at a few stations in Nadia, East Burdwan and South 24 Parganas districts. While at some spots, protesters blocked tracks, at others, banana leaves were placed on overhead wires. Railway Protection Force personnel dispersed agitators at Shimurali station in Nadia district.

8:50 am IST

Bengal govt asks bus drivers to wear helmets on duty

The West Bengal government has directed bus drivers to wear helmets while driving, in view of the nationwide strike called by central trade unions.