Assam rights activist files complaint against Rahul Gandhi on ‘bandh’
Morigaon, Sep. 10 (PTI): A human rights activist in Assam filed a police complaint Monday against Congress president Rahul Gandhi, alleging harassment of common people in the state owing to a bandh sponsored by his party on the issue of rising fuel prices, following which an FIR has been registered, police said.
In his complaint at Morigaon Sadar police station, Raju Mahanta, the president of NGO Sahai, said Congress members violated the rights of the common people in Assam.
Even patients on their way to hospital faced obstructions on the road due to the bandh, Mahanta, whose NGO works for the rights of destitute, elderly people and underprivileged children, said in his complaint.
“On the basis of the complaint, an FIR has been registered against the president of the party,” a senior police officer said.
The FIR was registered in the case referring to Gauhati High Court’s last year verdict, which declared all strikes in the state as “illegal and unconstitutional”, the officer said.
The Congress had called for Bharat Bandh Monday in protest against the BJP-led NDA government’s inability to curb fuel prices or arrest the depreciation of rupee.
Normal life was affected in BJP-ruled Assam earlier in the day with bandh supporters attempting to stop movement of trains, blocking national highways and burning tyres.
Some protesters were also seen setting up bamboo barricades to prevent movement of public vehicles, causing inconvenience to students and office-goers, officials said.
‘Bharat Bandh’ affects normal life in Tripura
A nationwide shutdown or Bharat Bandh called by the opposition Congress, Left and other parties against the increasing prices of fuel affected normal life in the BJP-ruled Tripura on Monday.
Most markets, shops and business establishments were closed and private and passenger vehicles remained off the roads. Government offices and some banks were open but employee attendance was low.
Flights operated to-and-from Agartala while the Northeast Frontier Railways operated their trains with very few passengers.
Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) K.V. Sreejesh told IANS that there were no untoward incidents reported from any part of the state.
The Congress and Left parties maintained that the shutdown was total and successful while the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party claimed that the people rejected the Bharat Bandh in Tripura.
Several Congress party workers were arrested for holding demonstrations in different places and creating obstacles in front of government offices.
Manipur Lok Sabha member Thokchom Meinya along with two party leaders from Assam, Wajed Ali Choudhury and Abdur Rauf, were also arrested here.
Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) Lok Sabha member from Tripura Sankar Prasad Dutta told the media that braving the threat of ruling BJP and the state government, the state’s people unitedly observed the shutdown to protest against the rising prices of transport fuel and essentials.
The ruling BJP, however, claimed that the “people outrightly rejected the ‘Bharat Bandh’ as it did not serve their interest”.
“Normal works were done in government offices and in most places in Tripura. Ongoing process of panchayat elections was also carried out all over Tripura.
As plying of vehicles was little less, government employees and other workers went to their places of work with their own arrangements,” BJP General Secretary Pratima Bhowmik told IANS.
“As a national party, BJP’s policy is always against any shut down as the party gives top priority to development and peace besides the interest of the common and poor people. Any kind of ‘bandh’ or strike affected the development and interest of the people.”
More than 400 protestors detained
Around 400 bandh supporters were detained in different parts of Tripura Monday for trying to disrupt normal life, a senior police officer said.
The bandh call by opposition Congress and Left parties over spiralling fuel prices and rupee depreciation, however, failed to evoke much response in the BJP-ruled state, he said.
All government offices, including the civil secretariat, conducted business as usual and public vehicles plied on roads like any other day, Officiating AIG (Law and Order) Subrata Chakraborty said.
“The strike was totally violence-free and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state so far. More than 400 picketers were detained for trying to enforce bandh,” he told PTI.
Some business establishments chose to remain shut in the state capital and neighbourhood areas, but normal life wasn’t affected in any way due to the bandh, he added.
The Department of General Administration had issued a memo instructing employees to report in office by noon.
A source at the administration department said the officials have complied with the instructions.
Pradesh Congress president Birajit Sinha, on his part, asserted that people have “spontaneously” supported the bandh.
“The information gathered from different districts suggest that people have supported the agitation. Our supporters courted arrest at Dharmanagar in North Tripura, Camperbazaar and other parts of West Tripura.
The ruling BJP administration had threatened them with consequences, but they did not budge,” Sinha said.
CPI (M) state secretary Bijan Dhar said his party and three other Left Front allies – CPI, Forward Block, and RSP- had called the strike to protest against the alleged misrule of BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
“Common people are going through a hard time due to devolution of rupee, rising fuel prices, inflation, attacks on Dalits and minorities among other issues.
We had given the strike call to protest against these atrocities. The bandh was successful in Tripura,” Dhar claimed.
Businesses brought to halt in Arunachal Pradesh
Normal life was affected in Arunachal Pradesh Monday by the Bharat bandh called by the Congress to protest the rising fuel prices.
All shops and business establishments including banks and educational institutions were closed in the state and private vehicles were off the road.
In the state capital about 100 Congress activists including Mahila Congress workers, Youth Congress president Geli Ete and Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) secretary John Taksing were arrested by police, a police officer said.
The protesters burnt tyres in many places in the state capital and in various other places to block roads, Superintendent of Police, Itanagar, M Harsh Vardhan said.
AICC general secretary Jarjum Ete alleged that the SP used abusive language against several Mahila Congress activists and a complaint would be lodged against him with the DGP.
However, the SP denied the allegation saying that after repeated pleas from him the party resorted to pelting stones and created law and problem situation much before the bandh timing.
“Being a responsible party, such activities are not expected from the Congress,” the SP added.
Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Takam Sanjoy claimed that the bandh is total and peaceful.
The SP, however, said many shops and petrol pumps are open.
Manipur schools bear the brunt
The ‘Bharat bandh’ against the rising fuel prices called by the Congress and the Left parties severely affected normal life in Manipur, as all educational institutes were closed and attendance in offices was very thin.
Congress MLA Mirabai said: “We are protesting against the soaring prices of petrol, diesel and essential commodities. The government should take up steps to bring down the prices”.
P. Saratchandra, a Congressman said: “The BJP says that it loves the poor sections of people. But it is escalating the prices. Police are trying to disperse us saying that it is illegal to hold strike. But the NDA government is hitting the people below the belt”.
Former Chief Minister and now opposition leader Okram Ibobi led a rally of the party MLAs and members in Imphal. All markets in the city and many other districts were shut.
All commercial vehicles were off the road, men and women came out at several places to burn tyres and block all kinds of vehicular movements.
There were heated face offs between police and the Congress members at several places.
People coming from other parts of the country were stranded in the mountainous stations along the highways since the buses could not enter the city.
Many trucks bringing fuel and essential commodities were also stranded.