Government

Day Two of Bharat Bandh: Sporadic Violence in Bengal; Kerala Bank Branch Attacked

Ten central trade unions are protesting against the Centre's 'anti-worker' policies and unilateral labour reforms.

New Delhi: The two-day nationwide strike by central trade unions to protest against the Centre’s ‘anti-worker’ policies and unilateral labour reforms entered its second day on Wednesday, impacting normal life in some parts of the country.

The ten central trade unions (CTUs) which have given a call for the two-day Bharat Bandh are protesting the government’s snub of their 12-point charter of demands seeking minimum wage of Rs 18,000, social security for all workers and issues related to price rise.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, the CTUs also alleged that the government undermined tripartism and continued its “aggressive attack with arrogance on the lives and livelihood of the working people.”

They are also opposed to the proposed amendments in Trade Union Act, 1926, saying those are irrational and extremely damaging to the independent functioning of unions.

Farming communities, through their associations, have also extended support to the strike. Student and teacher organisations of various universities have also declared support, the statement had said.

Amarjeet Kaur, the All India Trade Union Congress general secretary told PTI that there will be a complete bandh in Goa and Bihar, while 100% strike is expected in other parts of the country too.

She said that due to UGC exams, which started from Tuesday, some state transport departments would not participate completely in the strike in the interest of students.

Normal life was affected in Goa on Wednesday as private buses and tourist taxis remained off roads. Long queues of passengers were seen at various bus stands after the private buses association in the state shut operations.

Besides, lakhs of commuters in Mumbai continued to face hardships as an indefinite strike called by BEST, the city’s civic transport undertaking, continued. There were only five buses plying on city roads.

Over 32,000 BEST employees went on an indefinite strike on Tuesday over various demands, including higher salaries.

Sporadic violence in parts of West Bengal

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported from various parts of the state on Wednesday.

Stones were thrown at school buses in Howrah district, police said. In Cooch Behar district, supporters of the strike threw stones at autos as a result of which the drivers stopped the services.

Senior CPI(M) and Left leaders took out processions in various parts of the state in support of the strike.

Activists under the banner of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) raise slogans during the 48-hour nationwide strike. Credit: PTI

Government offices, IT sector and port activities weren’t impacted, while the 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 on Tuesday.

Kerala: Bank branch attacked, trains blocked

A treasury branch of the State Bank of India was attacked in Thiruvananthapuram and trains were blocked in various parts of Kerala.

The branch manager said a group of people came to his cabin at around 10 am and threatened the staff, damaged a glass table top and a computer.

No additional police security was sought as the security staff was on duty, he said.

At the Thiruvananthapuram railway station, Thiruvananthapuram-Hyderabad Sabari Express and Venad Express were blocked, while the Kottayam-Nilambur passenger train in Kalamassery was held up for a while.

A CITU worker, who allegedly hurled stones at a BJP protest pandal on Tuesday, has been arrested.

In many places, shops and commercial establishments were remained shut. Buses and autorickshaws were also off the roads. Many shopkeepers alleged that they were asked to put down their shutters.

Most of the textile and spices shops in the Broadway Market in Kochi and Mittayi Theruvu (sweet street) in Kozhikode were open.

Sabarimala pilgrims, tourists, social and religious functions have been exempted from the strike.

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