Bihar bandh: Activists protest, disrupt traffic
A passenger train was set on fire and another was pelted with stones in Bihar on Republic Day as students took to streets against the Railway Recruitment Board’s Non-Technical Popular Categories (RRB-NTPC) exam 2021.
Protesters blocked roads, disrupted train services and carried out processions in Patna and other parts of Bihar on Friday during a bandh called by students’ bodies against the alleged anomalies in the format of exams conducted by the Railway Recruitment Board. More than 500 RJD and Left party leaders and activists were arrested and later released in evening.
A passenger train was set on fire and another was pelted with stones in Bihar on Republic Day as students took to streets against the Railway Recruitment Board’s Non-Technical Popular Categories (RRB-NTPC) exam 2021. Students have been opposing a decision by the railways to hold the exam in two stages, claiming that the second stage is unfair to those who have cleared the first stage, results for which were released on January 15.
According to the police, road blockades, including National Highways, protest marches, and arson were reported from Gaya, Sheohar, Madhubani, Darbhanga, Begusarai, Supaul, Gopalganj, Khagaria, Saharsa, Buxar, Samastipur, Jehanabad, Araria, Bhojpur, and Madhepura.
In Patna, agitators allegedly burnt tyres and disrupted traffic movement on the busy Ashok Rajpath, said an official on the condition of anonymity.
Opposition parties -- Rashtriya Janata Dal, Congress, Communist Party of India, or CPI, and CPI (Marxist) -- have extended their support to the bandh, and were seen leading the processions in several parts of the state.
Supporters of the Jan Adhikar Party (JAP), led by former MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, forced shops and business establishments on the Fraser Road, New Dak Bungalow, and Gandhi Maidan to down their shutters, said police.
An official said that the Dak Bungalow intersection was blocked for seven hours as JAP cadres staged a demonstration as they asked the authorities concerned “to come to their senses”.
All India Students Association (AISA) and JAP cadres also clashed with the police upon, allegedly because they were being stopped from marching towards the Raj Bhavan, the official added.
“Barring stray incidents and forceful closure of shops in some cities, the bandh in the state remained peaceful. More than 500 RJD and CPI (ML) leaders and activists were taken into custody and later released,” additional director general (law and order) Sanjay Singh said.
Former chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who heads the National Democratic Alliance(NDA) constituent Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), has also extended support to the protesting job aspirants.
BJP spokesperson Dr Nikhil Anand, however, termed the bandh a failure. “There was no impact of bandh. Students distanced themselves and refused to fall into the trap of political parties,” said Anand.