Life disrupted,rival parties clash during 12-hr Bengal bandh

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Kolkata, Oct 31 (UNI) Life was disrupted and rival political parties clashed as the Trinamool Congress observed a 12-hour bandh in West Bengal today demanding restoration of 'rule of law' in Nandigram.

Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee claimed that the bandh was a success reflecting the people's protest against 'state-sponsored terrorism', while the CITU, the labour front of the CPI(M), described it as a failure.

Most vehicles,including private buses and taxis, were off the roads while train services were seriously affected and shops, markets and educational institutions remained closed.

Even though the city's underground trains ran as usual and a few state run buses and trams rolled on to the streets, work was seriously hampered in most of the governnment and private offices, banks and business establishments.

International trade with Bangladesh through the Petrapol corridor in North 24 Parganas was affected. Bandh supporters had stalled the goods carrying trucks.

Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said minor incidents of clashes between bandh supporters and their opponents had been reported from north Kolkata, Coochbehar, Balurghat and Bardhaman while police arrested about 700 people throughout the state for obstructing road and railway tracks.

"Private transport services have been disrupted in the districts as well as the city because of road and railway track blockades. As a result, attendance is low in Government offices," he told reporters.

However, normal air services were reported from NSCB international airport while attendance was near normal in factories, tea gardens and coal mines.

"I hope that the people's response to the bandh will give a lesson to the state Government prompting it to call back the CPI(M) goons who have unleashed a reign of terror in Nandigram and stop the killing spree," Ms.Banerjee told reporters.

Alleging that total lawlessness was prevailing in Nandigram precipitating a 'constitutional crisis', she reiterated that Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee resign owning responsibility for the situation.

"If not, he should be sacked constitutionally for a complete breakdown of the democratic system," she said.

She also alleged that CPI(M) cadres and police attacked Trinamool Congress supporters in different places during the bandh period.

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