New Delhi: Barring Kerala, that saw a complete shutdown, and West Bengal that witnessed violent clashes, the Bharat Bandh called by trade unions affiliated to the Left parties and the Congress remained by and large peaceful and limited to certain sectors only, having no major impact on people in much of the country.
However, public sector banks remained closed throughout the country, and autos, taxis, buses refused to ply in some cities, while universities saw students marching in protest during the Bharat Bandh called by trade unions against the Centre’s “anti-people labour policies”, and against the CAA, NRC, NPR as well as the attack on JNU students.
The day-long Bharat Bandh was expected to see the participation of 25 crore people. Huge crowds were seen taking part in protests. While the bandh largely remained peaceful, incidents of clashes between Trinamul Congress and Congress-Left workers were reported in West Bengal.
The ruling Trinamul decided not to participate in the bandh. Incidents of stone-pelting at state transport buses were also seen in Karnataka’s Madikeri district.
The corporate sector largely worked smoothly, while schools and colleges too were open in several parts of the country.
In Left-ruled Kerala, normal life was severely affected with public transport services keeping off the roads and banking services hit. Schools and colleges had declared a holiday and three major universities in the state postponed their examinations. Shops, hotels and other business establishments were shut in the state.
Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and his ministers also did not attend office.
In Delhi, trade unions held a protest at ITO while the students of Delhi University marched against the CAA, NRC, NPR and the violence at JNU. DU’s St. Stephen’s College, that largely stays away from all protests, also saw a boycott of classes and slogan-shouting in protest.
However, the city remained by and large free of disruptions, but industrial workers in the Mayapuri ans Wazirabad area stayed away from work. The Delhi Metro and the the Delhi Transport Corporation services functioned normally in Delhi, and schools and colleges remained open.
“We are protesting against the anti-labour laws of the Narendra Modi government, and the labour codes they plan to introduce which are against the welfare of workers. They even want to sell a Maharatna like Bharat Petroleum, and move towards privatisation,” said CPI(M) leader Subhashini Ali.