In Photo: People queue up to board a government bus at Cooch Behar town during the Congress’ 12-hour Bengal bandh. -Newsmen photo
Kolkata, 18 August: CONGRESS workers are restoring to vandalism in the districts to enforce the 12-hour shutdown called by the party in Bengal against the alleged lawlessness under Trinamool Congress rule.
The shutdown that began at 6 am Tuesday has evoked little response in Kolkata, but life in the districts has been partially affected. With tacit backing from the CPI-M, the bandh has so far had a total response in the north Bengal hub of Siliguri.
Congress workers forcibly entered the block development office at Sabang in West Midnapore and vandalised it before forcing the employees out. At Kandi and Behrampore in Murshidabad, the bandh supporters completely damaged two buses belonging to the North Bengal State Transport Corporation by attacking them with bricks and batons.
At Behrampore, pradesh Congress president Adhir Ranjan Choudhury took to the streets after police applied force to remove a group of picketers who had blocked the entry to district land and land reforms office. In a dramatic move, Mr Choudhury removed his shirt and dared the police to fire bullets on him instead of targeting the Congress workers.
In Malda, which is a stronghold of the Congress, local Lok Sabha MP Mausam Benzir Noor led a rally in support of the bandh. She alleged that the Trinamool was trying to spoil the bandh by making the police apply undue force on picketers.
At Visva Bharati university in Santiniketan, Congress workers forced the register’s office to close down; the scene was same at several government offices at Sainthia.
In several places in North and South 24-Parganas districts the bandh supporters have blocked the railway tracks stranding several local trains. At Howrah, they damaged a government bus.
In Kolkata the bandh has evoked very little response with both private and public buses plying as usual and people are out on the streets for work and business. At Howrah, Sealdah, Kolkata railway stations and at Dum Dum airport, private cabs are available but their number is less than that of a regular day.
Police detained some Congress supporters at Moulai in Kolkata for trying to block the road. At Hazra, the party took out a rally in support of the shutdown.