Bihar bandh: Life hit; Lalu, Paswan detained

Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan courted arrest while enforcing the bandh.

Patna: Normal life was affected in Bihar
on Saturday during a bandh called by RJD and LJP against fuel price
hike with protesters blocking roads and railway tracks while
the chiefs of the two parties Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan
were among 11,360 people detained statewide.

Prasad, who arrived here from Delhi, was detained
while leading a party procession that shouted slogans against
the Centre and the state government and burnt effigies of
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
Paswan said, "The massive response to our bandh call
suggests dissatisfaction of the people over the Central and
state government`s failure to check prices."

He urged the Centre to roll back the increased prices
of petrol, cooking gas, kerosene and diesel.
Kumar, however, said the bandh had no impact.

"Had the two parties been serious about the price
spiral, they would have joined the Bharat bandh called by
Opposition parties on July 5," he said.

RJD and LJP activists took out processions on busy
Bailey Road and Ashok Raj Path in the state capital and
blocked the roads for several hours, official sources said.

About 11,360 activists of RJD and LJP including their
top leaders were arrested, they said. Among others detained
were state RJD chief Abdul Bari Siddiqui, its newly-elected
Rajya Sabha member Ramkripal Yadav, former Union ministers
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, J P Yadav and Kanti Singh.

Bandh supporters burnt tyres and blocked railway
tracks and national and state highways at various places in
the state.

Most shops and business establishments remained
closed though banks and other financial institutions were
Most offices of central and state governments wore a
deserted look because of poor attendance.

Long queues of trucks and other vehicles were seen
on National Highway at Jarua, Ara, Aurangabad, Muzaffarpur and
Sasaram as protesters blocked the roads.

The bandh evoked good response in Aurangabad, Gaya,
Ara, Masaurhi, Nawada, Barh, Jehanabad, Gopalganj, Chapra,
Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga and Saharsa.

Several trains were left stranded in the state because
of the agitation. Among the trains running several hours
behind schedule were the New Delhi-Rajendra Nagar Terminal
Rajdhani Express, Sampoorna Kranti Express, Ganga-Domadar from
Dhanbad to Patna, Hatia-Patna Express, Janseva Express from
Saharsa to New Delhi and several passengers trains and the
intercity express.

This is the second bandh in the state this week.
Normal life was hit in the state on Monday due to the Bharat
bandh called by the NDA and Left parties.


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