Congress-sponsored Bengal bandh fails to evoke much response

Congress has called for a statewide strike in West Bengal on Tuesday in protest against the alleged lynching of a student in Sabang College in West Midnapore district.

Congress-sponsored Bengal bandh fails to evoke much response
Sabang College lynching case: Congress calls 12-hour West Bengal bandh today

Kolkata: The Bengal bandh called by the Congress on Tuesday failed to evoke much response in the state except in some districts where the party has strong presence even as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee criticised the shutdown and said it is destroying the work culture.

Most of the shops, markets and business establishments in the metropolis were open during the 12-hour bandh called by the Congress to protest the alleged killing of a student in Sabang college in West Midnapore district and "terror and violence" by the ruling Trinamool Congress.

Police said around 300 Congress supporters were arrested in the state for trying to enforce the bandh.

Government buses, trams plied normally although the number of private buses, minibuses and taxis were less. Metro Railway services were also normal.

Train services of the Eastern Railway were almost normal except a few blockades organised in Sealdah and Howrah divisions by bandh supporters.

South Eastern Railway train services were also near normal, railway sources here said.

The state government had yesterday announced that all its offices would remain open and employees should report for duty.

Criticising the shutdown, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that it destroyed work culture as none gained from it.

In the Congress stronghold of Murshidabad district, and in Baharampore home town of WBPCC president Adhir Chowdhury, shops and educational institutions remained closed.

Bandh supporters clashed with the police in front of the district land reforms office.

An agitated Chowdhury who took off his shirt alleged that although Congress workers were observing the bandh peacefully they were beaten up by the police. "Even women were not spared," he alleged.

Congress workers damaged some buses in the district, police said.

Bandh supporters blocked railway tracks at different stations in the district in Lalgola-Sealdah section and Azimganj-Howrah section of Eastern Railway.

A report from Malda, another Congress stronghold, said bandh evoked response in the district with shops downing their shutters in Englishbazar and other parts of the town and private vehicles keeping off the road.

In Bankura district, all private buses were off the roads but the situation remained peaceful.

Additional Superintendent of Police Malda, Abhisek Modi said that two Congress MPs - Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury and Mausam Benazir Noor - were arrested as they blocked the national highway, but were released after a short while.

Mausam Noor alleged that they were observing the bandh peacefully, but the police were forcibly trying to foil it.

"But we will continue our movement", she said.

A Siliguri report said that bandh evoked mixed response there with some shops, market establishments remaining closed and depleted number of private vehicles on the road.

However, government transport plied normally, it said.

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