Bharat Bandh live: Clashes in Murshidabad, West Bengal; police resorts to lathi charge

Over 15 crore people from 10 trade unions are expected to join a nationwide one-day strike that is underway since morning. The trade unions are opposing proposed labour law amendments by the Narendra Modi-led government, that they deem as pro-investors and anti-labour. Trade unions have sought for an increase in minimum wages, regularising contract labour amid agitation that the Centre made amendments to the laws without consulting the unions.

Among the ten trade unions going on the strike are Hind Mazdoor Sangh, Intuc, TUCC and Labour Progressive Front, Congress’s INTUC, and the Left-backed ones such as CITU and AITUC. But recently, ahead of the strike-day, RSS-sponsored BMS Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), one of the largest trade unions opted out, amid criticism that its decision was politically motivated. Even the civilian workforce of 41 defence ordnance factories, 52 DRDO labs, naval dockyards, military engineering services as well as defence workshops and depots, will be joining the strike.

While transport and banking services are largely expected to be affected today, railways is going to stay out of the strike.
Clashes between TMC and CPIM in Murshidabad, West Bengal
In Murshidabad district’s Berhampore, Trinamool Congress supporters allegedly pelted stones on CPIM supporters leaving several injured. Left leader, Moinul Hassan and seven others, including two women were seen attacked by Trinamool Congress supporters. They were seriously injured in the brick batting and are admitted to the local hospital.

Later, RAF was rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control. Police and RAF personnel resorted to a lathi charge to disperse agitating demonstrators of Left and Trinamool Congress.

Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation buses parked at Majestic

The Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation is sparse today mornng due to the trade union strike. Bus operators in Bangalore have joined the strike and remained off the roads.

​There are less taxis and more cars on the roads today. Buses and auto-rickshaws functioning in Mumbai.

West Bengal

Normal life was partially affected in West Bengal today following the country-wide general strike called by 10 central trade unions against the policies of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

Train services of South Eastern railway were normal although Eastern railway officials said suburban services in the Sealdah south section were hit for sometime in the morning due to blockade at some places.
Metro Rail services were operating normally, officials said. Shops, markets and business establishments in most areas remained closed.

State administration was plying a large fleet of public buses while private buses and taxis were also seen on the streets though their number was less compared to other week days. A senior Kolkata Police official said, “Although buses are plying, the number of passengers is less.” West Bengal government and opposition Left Front locked horns over the strike call, with the former issuing circulars to employees and making all out efforts to keep life normal and the latter asking people to “tear away circulars”.

Airport officials here said that flights of Air India and other airlines operated normally at N S C Bose International Airport. They, however, said passengers faced inconvenience due to inadequate number of taxis at the airport.
As many as 12 central trade unions had given the strike call over a 12-point charter of demands, including withdrawal of the proposed “anti-worker” amendments in labour laws and stopping the disinvestment and privatisation of PSUs.

BMS later pulled out saying the government needed to be given time to fulfil its promises on the basic demands. The National Front of Indian Trade Unions will also stay out.