Two nursery students were injured when a group of bandh supporters attacked a car ferrying them to school in Kolkata Wednesday, the second day of the two-day nationwide strike called by central trade unions protesting against the “anti-people” policies of the Centre. In Howrah, protesters pelted stones at school buses and a driver was injured. In Ashoknagar, a suspected country-made explosive was found on the railway tracks. Apart from incidents of sporadic violence and delay in train services due to blockades reported across the state, normal life was not disrupted.
The TMC, which has been one of the most vocal critics of the BJP, went all out to weaken the impact of the strike. TMC secretary general Partha Chatterjee said, “People have rejected bandh culture and there was no impact on normal life in the state.” BJP state president Dilip Ghosh claimed that the strike had been a complete failure. However, Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) state president Subhas Mukherjee said, “People have actively observed the strike. It was successful.”
On Wednesday morning, bandh supporters attacked a car pool taking around 10 students to school in Rajabazar. Amherst Street police said the car’s driver told them that unidentified people “holding CPM flags” began hitting the car with sticks and shattered its windshield. Two students of the Future Foundation School were taken to Calcutta Medical College and Hospital with minor injuries, they added.
Twenty-two persons were later detained in connection with the incident.
CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra said, “We are looking into it and trying to find out what happened. We are sure our workers were not involved in such incidents. We will have to see who were involved and why they attacked the vehicle.”
Meanwhile, in Howrah district, stones were pelted at school buses and a driver was injured.
Senior CPM and Left leaders took out processions in various parts of the state in support of the strike. In Jadavpur, CPM leader Sujan Chakraborty was detained by police. In Cooch Behar district, bandh supporters pelted stones at auto-rickshaws.
Train services in the Eastern Railways zone were disrupted due to blockades by bandh supporters. Trains were suspended on the Sealdah-Bongaon section in Ashoknagar after a suspected bomb was found on the tracks. Services resume at 10.25 am after it was removed by civil authorities. In the Howrah division, services were affected on the Bandel-Katwa route after bandh supporters blocked tracks at Bhandartikuri station. The South Eastern Railways zone was not affected by bandh.
A PTI report said government offices, IT sector and port activities were normal, while banking sector experienced partial impact with some branches and ATMs closed. Workers in tea gardens also worked like normal days. However, PSU insurance companies were closed.