Bharat Bandh: State government, opposition lock horns over tomorrow's strike

Kolkata, Sep 1: West Bengal government and opposition Left Front locked horns today over tomorrow's strike call, with the former issuing circulars and making all out efforts to keep life normal and the latter asking people to "tear away circulars".

The state government had yesterday made it mandatory for all its employees to be present in office on September 2 when a nation-wide strike has been called by central trade unions. The state government today revised it's earlier circular to ensure presence of its employees tomorrow.

The revised circular said, "An employee who absents himself on bandh day by tagging leave on that day with other days will also be treated as absent and the entire period of absence will be treated as 'dies non' and no salary will be admissible."

Leader of Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra lashed out at the state government for trying to curb the democratic rights of the masses and the working class. "The TMC-led state government is behaving in the most undemocratic manner.

ALso read: Bharat Bandh, yet again; buses, autos will be off roads on Sept 2

From 2011 they have been making efforts to snatch away the rights of the working class. Every time they have issued circulars, which has no legal sanctity. We ask the state government employees to tear those circulars and participate in the strike.

"The state does not have the right to snatch the democratic means of protest of the working class," Mishra told reporters. When asked whether Left Front-led trade unions and the Left parties would try to enforce the strike, Mishra said "We neither believe in enforcing the strike forcibly nor believe in using force to break strikes."

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee during the day assured compensation to trade bodies in case of any damage or loss while keeping open their establishments during the strike, an official of a retailers trade body said. "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today assured us of help in case we face any problem in keeping our shops open tomorrow.

She also assured us police protection and compensation in case of any damage," Ravindra Nath Koley, member of the task force on agricultural products price, said at the state secretariat after the meeting. Banerjee had said earlier that she wanted to end the bandh and strike culture in Bengal and had asked all to oppose the nation-wide strike call by central trade unions.

The strike call was given by 11 central trade unions to protest against the proposed changes in various labour laws. BJP-backed Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh has pulled out of the proposed strike.


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