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Little response to 'Bengal bandh'

Written by: Staff

Kolkata, Dec 5 (UNI) Barring stray incidents, of violence the 24-hour ''Bangla bandh'', sponsored by the SUCI and two Naxalite factions today remained peaceful evoking a little response.

State Home Secretary Prasad Ranjan Ray said no major untoward incidents had been reported from anywhere in the state and life was normal.

Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Raj Kanojia said altogether 600 bandh supporters had been arrested from different parts of the state for obstructing road and railway tracks.

The SUCI called the bandh for 24 hours, while the CPI-ML (Liberation) and the CPI(ML) jointly gave a separate call for a 12-hour statewide strike in protest aginst acquisition of farm land for setting up Tata Motors' small car unit and alleged police atrocities on protestors at Singur in Hooghly district.

The Trinamool Congress, BJP and the Congress had extended moral support to the bandh.

Police lathicharged SUCI workers at Hazra crossing in the city when they put up a road blockade while bandh supporters damaged government buses at Coochbehar in north Bengal and at Barasat in North 24 Parganas district.

The bandh suppporters also had scuffle with police at the Five Point crossing in Shyambazar and in Dharmatala.

Barring Kultali and Joynagar in South 24 Parganas district and a few other pockets in Nadia and Birbhum districts, life was near normal with buses and other vehicles plying as usual and most of the people venturing out for work.

While train services from Howrah and Sealdah stations were usual despite blockade at a few places, normal functioning was reported from government offices, factories, commercial establishments, ports, coal mines and tea gardens.

However, many of the shops, small commercial establishments and educational institutions remained closed.

This was the second bandh in the past four days after Trinamool Congress-sponsored dawn-to-dusk bandh on December One in protest against ''police atrocities'' on the protesters.

CPI(M) State Secretary Biman Basu said today's ''Bangla bandh'' had no impact anywhere in the state as the people could not understand why it had been called.

''The bandh had no agenda and the people could not understand why it had been called on the same issue after the December one bandh, sponsored by the Trinamool Congress,'' he said.

Mr Basu, however, appealed to Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee to withdraw her indefinite hunger strike and talk to Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee.

However, both the Socialist Unity Centre of India (SUCI) and CPI(ML) Liberation claimed that the bandh was a ''total success''.

SUCI state secretary Prabhas Ghosh alleged that 1135 party supporters had been arrested and 141 others injured in different parts of the state in ''police action and attacks'' by CPI(M) cadres.

CPI(ML) Liberation state Secretary Kartik Pal said the party would continue the movement on the Singur issue unless the government fulfil the demands.

He also demanded a judicial inquiry into the police baton charge on Singur villagers on December 2 and release of all arrested.


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