A 48-hour nationwide strike called by 10 central trade unions entered its second day on Wednesday. The bandh was called to protest against the “anti-people” policies of the Narendra Modi-led government.
Besides this, there was also a public bus strike in Mumbai, and a bank unions strike.
The first day of the strike saw protestors stopping buses and trains, pelting stones and clashing with the police. In Rajasthan, at least 22 police personnel and 50 civilians were wounded in clashes.
The strike was supported by the All India Kisan Sabha, Adivasi Adhikar Rashtriya Manch, Bhumi Adhikar Andolan, and several other organisations.
Here’s what happened through the day:
6.16 pm: Train services delayed in Odisha after protestors block railway lines in Bhubaneswar, Balasore and Berhampur, reports The Indian Express.
In Kerala, some commercial establishments were open during the day with owners putting up boards with the message: “Say No to Hartal”.
3 pm: A worker of the Centre of Indian Trade Unions was arrested for hurling stones at a BJP member in Thiruvananthapuram, the Hindustan Times reports.
Meanwhile in West Bengal, more than 400 have reportedly been arrested.
2.27 pm: Banana leaves were thrown on overhead wires in the Sealdah South section early in the morning on Wednesday. This has caused disruption in train services in Sealdah-Diamond Harbour, Sealdah-Lakshmikantapur and Sealdah-Namkhana routes from 5.20 am. The Sealdah-Diamond Harbour route remains disrupted.
2.14 pm: Train services on Eastern Railway have been disrupted due to rail blockades and a suspected bomb found on the tracks.
The police found the suspected bomb at Ashoknagar, near Kolkata, in the Sealdah-Bongaon section. Railway services were briefly suspended after that. Civil authorities removed the suspected explosive, and train services resumed at 10.25 am.
1.49 pm: Trade union activists block roads at many places in Bhubaneswar, including a sit-in protest at Master Canteen Square. Such demonstrations have been organised in Cuttack too.
1.29 pm: Train services have been disrupted in Bhubaneswar, Balasore and Behrampore, among other places, after a “rail roko” protest, PTI reports. Many shops, markets and business establishments remain closed, though the strike has had less impact than on Tuesday. Government as well as private buses are mostly off the roads in Bhubaneswar.
12.52 pm: A mob attacks a treasury branch of the State Bank of India in Thiruvanathapuram, PTI reports. The branch manager says some people came to his cabin around 10 am and threatened the bank staff. He alleges that they damaged a glass table top and a computer.
Meanwhile, shops and commercial establishments remain shut in many parts of the state. Shopkeepers claim that they were coerced to shut down their shops. But textile and spices shops in Kochi, and the sweet street in Kozhikode are open.
12.10 pm: Employees at Thiruvananthapuram airport have also joined the strike on Wednesday, causing flight delays.
In Palakkad, demonstrators have stopped employees from working at KINFRA Park. Employees of the Indian Oil Corporation at its Kochi plant have also been prevented from joining work.
12 pm: Protesters had blocked the Raptisagar Express, Sabari Express, Jan Shatabdi Express and Venad Express at Thiruvananthapuram railway station in Kerala early in the morning, Mathrubhumi reports. The police have arrested the protestors and removed them from the tracks, but trains continue to run late.
11.35 am: Private buses and tourist taxis have remained off roads in Goa on Wednesday in response to the Bharat Bandh, PTI reports. The state-run Kadamba Transport Corporation has been running 800 additional buses to help stranded commuters.
Ferry boat services run by the government’s river navigation department also remained shut, causing inconvenience to those living on islands in the state. The Goa government has invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act in the state.
Schools and colleges across Goa have also witnessed spare attendance on Wednesday.
11.19 am: Protestors vandalise a bus in Cooch Behar district of West Bengal, ANI reports. Two people, including the bus driver, have been injured in the incident.
10.41 am: Like on Tuesday, government offices, information technology sector and port activities continue normally in West Bengal on Wednesday. The banking sector has been partly hit, with some ATMs closed. Public sector insurance companies have also remained shut.
10.37 am: Two students have been injured in West Bengal’s Howrah after a mob pelted stones at a bus at Shanpur Mor, ANI reports. A police officer tells NDTV that the police reached the spot later and dispersed the crowd.
10.20 am: Workers plan to march from Mandi House to Parliament in New Delhi at noon, The Indian Express reports. Wednesday is the last day of the Winter Session of Parliament.
9.30 am: Police detain Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sujan Chakraborty and other protestors in Kolkata, reports ANI.
9 am: The West Bengal government has directed bus drivers to wear helmets while driving, reports ANI. Several incidents of vandalism and violence were reported from across the state on the first day of the strike.
8.43 am: The All India Bank Employees Association and Bank Employees Federation of India has informed the Indian Banks’ Association of the two-day strike, News18 reports. In a BSE filing, Allahabad Bank says the demands of the protestors are at industry level, and the strike call has also been given at that level.
8.27 am: Central Railway is running extra train services between Thane and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus, and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus and Vashi and Panvel, to help passengers stranded due to the bus strike in Mumbai.
8.15 am: The BEST employees’ indefinite strike in Mumbai continues on Wednesday, The Times of India reports. The Shiv Sena Union, which had backed the shutdown on its first day, has withdrawn support to the strike. However, only nine buses have so far operated in Mumbai on Wednesday.
8.12 am: By Tuesday evening, ATMs ran dry in several cities of the country, News18 reports. Bank unions have claimed that thousands of bank employees have joined the strike.