As many as 10 central trade unions have called a 48-hour nationwide strike protesting against the “anti-people” policies of the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party government, PTI reported. The strike, which began at midnight, is supported by the All India Kisan Sabha, Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, and several other government organisations. The strike affected traffic and banking operations in several parts of the country.
This is how the day unfolded:
7.41 pm: Rajasthan Police say 22 personnel were injured in the clash, PTI reports. Union leaders say 50 people were injured in clashes with the police.
7.35 pm: The Centre of Indian Trade Unions congratulates workers for “unprecedented participation” in the bandh. The organisation says the participation indicates the “extent of anger and resentment of the workers against the neoliberal policies and the attacks on their working and living conditions perpetrated by these policies”.
5.40 pm: Demonstrators burn effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in many parts of West Bengal, including in Kolkata, PTI reports. Train services of South Eastern Railway have been affected from 6.30 am onward due to protestors blocking tracks in several sections. But the information technology sector, port activities and government offices have functioned as usual.
5.25 pm: Farmers block the Saharanpur-Haridwar railway track to protest against the government over pending payments, ANI reports.
5.03 pm: Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses have restarted operations in Mysuru, The Times of India reports.
4.45 pm: As many as 70 people have been arrested in West Burdwan district of West Bengal for band-related activities.
4.27 pm: Tamil Nadu Communist Party of India (Marxist) Secretary K Balakrishnan leads a road roko protest in Coimbatore, the party says on Twitter.
4.05 pm: Kerala Finance Minister Thomas Isaac has called for urgent price-control measures through universalisation of public distribution system and banning speculative trade in the commodity market.
2.41 pm: Schools and colleges shut in many parts of Odisha and Karnataka.
2.39 pm: Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal extends support to the strike, according to the Hindustan Times.
1.18 pm: The ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, meanwhile, claims people have “foiled” the bandh. “It is a tactic of bandh supporters to create disturbances at a few spots and claim that the entire state has been paralysed,” says TMC member and West Bengal Education Minister Partha Chatterjee.
1.17 pm: CPI(M) central committee member Rabin Deb claims the police indulged in excesses in West Bengal. “Police indulged in excesses. They arrested our workers even when they were standing on the pavement and were yet to start any agitation,” Deb says, according to the Hindustan Times.
1.16 pm: Clashes were reported between workers of Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) in West Bengal’s Sodepur, Asansol and Jamuria, reports the Hindustan Times.
1.13 pm: Several trains were stopped in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram, Tripunithura and Shoranur as activists staged protests, PTI reports.
1.12 pm: Activists picket and block roads at several places in Cuttack, Odisha, reports PTI.
1.11 pm: Business establishments, educational institutions and offices stay shut in Odisha. Several people were stranded as private as well as government buses stayed off the roads.
1.08 pm: Train services delayed in Odisha as trade union members stage rail roko at many places such as Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Jaleswar, Bhadrak, Sambalpur, Berhampur and Paradip, PTI reports.
12.33 pm: All India Trade Union Congress General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur claims the strike is “quite visible in Assam, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Manipur, Bihar, Rajasthan, Goa, Punjab, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Haryana”, according to PTI.
12.31 pm: The Students’ Federation of India stages a protest outside Kolkata’s Presidency University, the Hindustan Times reports. Students of Jawaharlal Nehru University have also expressed solidarity, according to All India Trade Union Congress General Secretary Amarjeet Kaur.
12.29 pm: Protestors organise a procession in West Bengal’s Siliguri, according to the Hindustan Times.
12.26 pm: Public transport in Bengaluru and other parts of Karnataka were disrupted on Tuesday because of the strike called by 10 central trade unions. However, private buses, auto, taxi and metro services were available as usual. Mixed responses to the strike were also reported from Mysuru, Mangaluru and Hubballi-Dharwad.
12 pm: A strike is also on in the North East against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. A shutdown has been called in Assam, but Tripura remains unaffected so far. Tyres have been burnt on roads in Guwahati, Tinsukia and Dibrugarh districts to prevent movement of vehicles and railway tracks were briefly blocked in Guwahati and Dibrugarh.
11.40 am: Sporadic violence has been reported from Bengal. In the state’s North 24 Parganas district, people pelted stones at a school bus in Champadali area of Barasat, while protestors squatted on railway tracks to stop trains and also burnt tyres on roads in parts of the state.
10.55 am: The Congress in West Bengal provides “moral support” for the bandh, the Hindustan Times reports. The Bharatiya Janata Party has opposed the strike. The Trinamool Congress’ chief Mamata Banerjee, meanwhile, says the state government is against bandhs and so, will not allow disruption of life.
10.51 am: The Maharashtra transport department runs 40 extra buses on Tuesday in view of the strike call by employees of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport. This strike, however, is unrelated to the one called by trade unions. BEST employees’ demands include merging the company’s budget with the ‘A’ budget of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and resolving the issue of employee service residences.
10.47 am: Clashes reported in West Bengal’s Asansol between Trinamool Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers.
9.40 am: CPI (M) Assembly leader Sujan Chakraborty and several party workers have been detained, reports Hindustan Times. Chakraborty was leading a procession of protestors in south Kolkata’s Jadavpur and blocked an arterial road.
9.10 am: A school bus in Barasat, 30 km from Kolkata, was vandalised. However, no injuries have been reported, NDTV reports.
Protestors also clash with police at a bus stop in Jadavpur. Several incidents of crowds vandalising buses have been reported from Asansol and Hind Motor.
9 am: In West Bengal, the police have detained Communist Party of India (Marxist) workers protesting in support of the bandh.
8.55 am: The strike is also on in Odisha, where trade union members are holding protests and have blocked commuters in Bhubaneswar.
8.50 am: Members of central trade unions have blocked a railway line in West Bengal’s Howrah, ANI reports. They are demanding minimum wages and social security schemes, among other things.
8:48 am: Bus employees of the Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply & Transport are also striking on Tuesday, according to ANI. But the strike is unrelated to the one called by trade unions. BEST employees’ demands include merging the company’s budget with the ‘A’ budget of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and resolving the issue of employee service residences.
8.45 am: All educational institutions, including schools, colleges and universities in Odisha, will remain closed on Tuesday due to the strike.
8.42 am: The West Bengal government in a notification last week said it would bar employees from availing casual leave or any half-day leave on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will also disallow leave on the day preceding the two-day strike or after it.
8.40 am: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claims that the nationwide strike will have no impact in her state, which will not support any bandh, PTI reports.
“Enough is enough. In the last 34 years, they [Left Front] have destroyed the state by calling bandh,” she said. “There will be no bandh.”
8.30 am: Farmers across the country under the aegis of the Left Peasant Wings will also join the strike.
“The All India Kisan Sabha and the Bhumi Adhikar Andolan will observe ‘gramin hartal’ [rural strike], rail ‘roko’ and road ‘roko’ on January 8 and 9, the day trade unions are observing nationwide general strike,” says All India Kisan Sabha General Secretary Hannan Mollah. “This move is against the Modi government’s failure to address rural distress issues, to save rural farmers’ lands from the corporate.”