Scenes of violence were witness in some parts of the country where opposition parties observed Bharat Bandh in protest of the rising prices of petrol and diesel.
While some protesters set tyres on fire and prevented buses from plying in Gujarat’s Bharuch, members of Pappu Yadav’s Jan Adhikar Party allegedly vandalised vehicles in Patna.
They clashed with police at several places while enforcing the shutdown. The workers damaged dozens of four wheelers, buses and two wheelers in Patna. The Congress in Bihar distanced itself from this act of vandalism.
According to reports, a two-year-old girl in Jehanabad died after an ambulance failed to reach her on time due to blockade of roads by protesters.
In some parts of Mumbai, workers of the Maharashtra Navnirma Sena (MNS) were seen forcing shops and other business establishments to down their shutters.
Congress workers in Madhya Pradesh were seen allegedly vandalising a petrol pump in Ujjain during the protests.
A dawn-to-dusk Bharat Bandh was observed on Sunday following a call given by the Congress. The parties that have joined the agitation include the CPI(M), Samajwadi Party (SP), Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Maharshtra Navanirman Sena (MNS).
The Trinamool Congress (TMC), though supporting the issue, decided to stay away from the protest. Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in Delhi, too, have decided not to support the shutdown call.
Normal life was affected in various places, especially in states with Congress and non-NDA governments.
Buses in Karnataka’s Kalaburagi were off the roads and traffic was affected in Telangana’s Yadadri Bhuvanagiri district after Congress workers protested in Bhongir and Musheerabad bus depots.
Members of the Kannada Vedica Paksha (KVP) were seen forcing restaurants, shops and petrol stations to remain shut at least till 3 pm.
Reports say that around 1,000 supporters of the ruling JD-S and Congress coalition staged a massive demonstration at the Town Hall in Bengaluru and took out a protest rally to the Freedom Park through main roads.
Many passengers had a harrowing time reaching train station and the airport due to the non-availability of buses and cabs.
In Vijayawada and Vishakhapatnam of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, CPI and CPI(M) workers came out on the streets waving their party flags and raising slogans against the Centre’s failure in checking the rising fuel prices.
As a precautionary measure, the Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation suspended some of its services in various districts. Scores of opposition workers were taken into custody across the state by the police.
Police in Odisha arrested hundreds of Congress activists for blocking rail tracks and roads at several places of the state including Bhubaneswar.
Violent scenes were also witnessed in Arunachal Pradesh. Burning tyres were seen on the roads where protests were held. Congress state president Geli Ete and other members were seen getting hauled into a police vehicle from a protest site.
Train services were hit, too. Congress workers blocked a train in Sambalpur in Odisha and the East Coast Railway Zone cancelled 12 trains Jan Shatabdi Express and Inter City Express from Bhubaneswar in the wake of the protests.
Besides vandalism, Jan Adhikar Party workers blocked railway tracks in Patna’s Rajendra Nagar Terminal railway station leading to a disruption in rail traffic and delay in the departure and arrival of trains on the major railway route connecting northern India to the east.
Over a dozen long route express and passenger trains were stopped at Patna, Gaya, Bhojpur, Jehanabad, Khagaria, Madhubani, Sagarsa, Darbhanga, Banka, Bhagalpur, Sheikhpura and Muzaffarpur railway stations.
Congress workers, too, blocked trains at Andheri railway station near Mumbai.
Though AAP did not join the shutdown call, its leader Atishi was seen joining CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and Left leader D Raja at a protest venue in New Delhi.
Congress leader and 1984 anti-Sikh riots accused Sajjan Kumar was also seen at the venue of a protest in Delhi.
Heavy police deployment was made in the national capital with reserve police forces, and motorcycle patrols were put on high alert.