Bharat Bandh: Road, train traffic thrown out of gear in Bihar
With opposition parties and many other organisations extending their support to Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) call for Bharat Bandh on Monday to mark the first anniversary of three controversial farm laws, rail and road traffic in Bihar was affected.
Protesters led by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Congress and the Communist Party of India (CPI) blocked National Highways and other key roads across the state and also squatted on railway tracks. However, no major incident has been reported during the shutdown from any part of the state so far.
Chaos prevailed at Danapur, Patna and Rajendra Nagar railway terminus, where commuters waited for train services to resume in sweltering heat . Passengers stuck on trains, stranded in the blockade, were seen getting off with luggage in their hands, hoping to make some alternate arrangement to finish their remaining journeys.
Most of the private schools in Patna, Bhagalpur, Darbhanga, Muzaffarpur and Gaya were closed while business establishments such as restaurants and eateries functioned as usual.
In Patna, students of Patna University blocked Ashok Rajpath, burnt tyres and raised slogans in support of the shutdown. At Patna junction round about, some political workers attacked and damaged windowpanes of local buses and their crew. Traffic was thin as auto rickshaws and private buses, the main mode of public transport in the state capital, kept away from the roads. A vegetable seller Ashok Mahto in Patna’s Anta Ghat area, said the bandh was not forced on them and they had voluntarily shut down business for the day in support of the cause.
RJD supporters led by member of legislative assembly (MLA) Mukesh Roushan blocked Gandhi Setu which connects North Bihar with Patna, disrupting vehicular traffic and resulting in huge traffic jam.
CPI, CPI(M) and CPI(ML) supporters, led by MLA Sudama Prasad blocked Ara-Patna-Sasaram highway, held public meeting and raised anti-government slogans. Demonstrations were also reported from Jehanabad, Darbhanga, Begusarai, Nawada, where protestors forcibly stopped train movements.
There were similar protests in Aurangabad, Nawada, Sheikhpura, Gopalganj, Saran, Siwan, Sitamarhi, Samastipur, Bhagalpur and Lakhisarai, where protestors blocked roads in some areas this morning. A senior state government official, however, said the situation was peaceful.
The Bihar police had put in place elaborate security measures during the Bharat Bandh, which will end at 6 pm.
East Central Railway’s chief public relations officer (CPRO) Rajesh Kumar said several trains were halted at Begusarai, Sheikhpura, Nawada, Jehanabad and Darbhanga due to the agitation.