Bharat Bandh puts brakes on normal life in Bihar
Normal life came to a standstill in many parts of Bihar on Tuesday due to the Bharat Bandh called by farmers demanding the repeal of three farm laws.
Farmers supported by various political parties and trade unions held protests against the new farm laws. Roads were mostly deserted but emergency services, including hospitals and chemist shops remained open.
There has been heavy police deployment across the state to prevent any untoward incident. But despite the large number of policemen on major roads and national highways, protesters blocked many routes including state highways and Mahatma Gandhi Setu that connects north Bihar to Patna by placing burning tyres on roads, affecting vehicular traffic leading to long queues of vehicles. A few luxury cars were damaged at Ara, Patna, Muzaffarpur and Samastipur by bandh supporters.
Train services too were affected due to ‘rail roko’ agitation at many stations like Jehanabad, Ara, Pawapuri, Rajgir, Laheriasarai, Saharsa, Chhapra over demands to repeal the new farm laws. Hundreds of passengers were stranded at scores of railway stations, bus stations and taxi stands from the morning.
A clash between police and protesters was reported from Jehanabad after cops tried to drive away protesters from the national highway. Police said that protestors blocked the national highway after puncturing many trucks. Reports from Jamui, said a clash took out between protestors and passerby at Chakai locality.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Communist supporters fanned out to various parts of Patna, forcing shopkeepers to down their shutters and deflating tyres of vehicles plying on the roads.
Many bandh supporters were seen carrying party flags, much to the embarrassment of their leaders who had said that instructions were in place “not to give a political colour” to the support for the bandh.
All examinations scheduled for Tuesday under Magadh University and Bihar University’s jurisdiction have been postponed in view of Bharat Bandh, the university administration said.
Central and state government offices registered thin attendance while banking services across the state worked unhindered.
Additional director general of police (headquarters) Jitendra Kumar said, “Police were deployed in large numbers across the state to ensure that the movement of essential goods and services remained unhindered”.
Police patrolling across Bihar has been increased to ensure the shutdown remains peaceful. The security forces are also keeping a vigil at the railway stations to avoid any ‘Rail Roko’ protests in Bihar.