New Delhi: The nationwide bandh called by the NDA and the Left Front evoked a mixed response from across the country on Thursday. While the NDA states were hit by the Bharat bandh, there was a lukewarm response in the Congress-ruled states as they remained partially affected.
Most of the protests have been peaceful till now, but sporadic violence has been reported from Maharashtra and Karnataka. In the BJP-ruled Karnataka, three state-run buses were burnt and 11 others were damaged early on Thursday morning. Following this, the BMTC suspended operations for now and will review the situation after a meeting. But apart from this incident, no other incident of violence has been reported though a few markets observed a complete shutdown. There were similar scenes in Pune as the protestors burnt 13 buses at various places. The buses were damaged late on Wednesday night by the protestors.
The national capital was also partially hit by the bandh with auto rickshaws and taxis off the roads. The BJP workers blocked traffic in some areas in Delhi.
Most of the protests were peaceful by far, but sporadic violence was reported from Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Sharad Yadav detained in Bihar
In Bihar, NDA Convener and JD(U) chief Sharad Yadav and BJP leader Shahnawaz Hussain were among 800 activists detained while enforcing the Bharat bandh.
Yadav along with 700 odd supporters took out processions in Saharsa town to enforce the bandh. Yadav and his supporters were soon taken into custody in Saharsa sadar police station, sources said.
Hussain, the BJP spokesperson, and others were detained in Bhagalpur town while trying to enforce the bandh.
Traffic partially affected in Delhi
In Delhi, the auto-rickshaw strike against CNG price hike by the Delhi government was also affecting the commuters. The auto rickshaw unions have also joined the bandh with 55,000 autos and 15,000 taxis expected to stay off the road.
The BJP workers also stalled traffic at the Akshardham road in the capital, where BJP leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi courted arrest.
Left leaders Prakash Karat, AB Bardhan and Sitaram Yechury also courted arrest along with a number of their supporters in central Delhi as part of their protest.
However, the bandh did not evoke much response as small shops were seen open in many areas in the morning.
As there were less autos on streets, people chose Metro services and there was huge crowds important stations like Laxmi Nagar and Rajiv Chowk besides other places. Buses of state-run Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) were on roads in large numbers.
A senior police official said they have ensured that every major road has police presence.
Violence in some parts of Maharashtra, but traffic normal
BEST buses were pelted with stones in suburban Mulund and Dadar. Transport was hit in Mulund, Dadar, Worli and Currey Road areas due stone pelting on BEST buses.
However, local trains and buses were plying as usual in most parts of the city but the number of commuters was lower than normal.
Taxis and autorickaws were plying normally. But leaders of taxi and rickshaw unions have announced that they will take vehicles off the roads in case of any untoward incident.
The dabbawalaas, who supply tiffin to office goers, have also taken a day off.
Rail route affected in many parts
JD(U)'s women's wing stalled rail traffic in Patna. In Allahabad, Samajwadi Party workers, too, blocked the Delhi-Howrah rail route and stopped two trains.
In Chandigarh, the Delhi-Chandigarh Shatabdi was stopped by the protestors, delaying other trains.
West Bengal partially hit
The supporters of the 12-hour bandh called by the NDA to protest the petrol price hike today blocked some roads in some districts of West Bengal and squatted on railway tracks.
Bandh supporters blocked the Howrah bridge, which connects the metropolis to the Howrah district. They also blocked roads at Chapadali more in Barasat, in Bankura district, Budge Budge and some other places, police said. They also damaged some buses in some places, they said.
However, buses, cars, taxis, trams were running in the metropolis though in less number. Police sources said there was no report of any violence in the city.
(With additional information from PTI)