The “Bihar Bandh” against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register for Citizens (NRC) evoked tremendous response in the state with the normal life getting badly affected in many parts of the state. The call for bandh had been given by the Left parties but its impact was impressive given the way the protest received the support of all Opposition parties in the state and also 11 students’ Unions.

While road and rail traffic remained disrupted, schools remained closed. Business establishments also remained shut. At several places, the protesters marched to the streets, shouting slogans against the government and carrying flags and placards in hands. Many even shed their clothes to protest in bare bodies in the chilly winter while others danced in saris on the streets to convey their message across.

However, the most interesting scene was witnessed in Patna where the activists of Jan Adhkar Party (JAP), headed by former parliamentarian Pappu Yadav, protested on the streets wearing handcuffs and shackles around their necks and feet, presenting themselves as typical prisoners. “Muslims are just an excuse, the real motive is to deprive the poor and Dalits of their rights through these laws. Our agitation will continue till we get the real freedom,” Yadav said.

Angry protests were reported from all parts of the state. Irate protesters blocked roads and disrupted rail traffic by burning tyres and squatting on the railway lines, delaying movement of several trains. At many places, the bandh supporters were seen enforcing the closure of the business establishments and even smashing the window panes of the vehicles moving on the streets, much to the annoyance of general commuters but they had no regrets. “Jab loktantra hi na bachega to log kahan bachnege (where is the question of a man’s survival when the democracy itself remains in danger)?” asked a protester, trying to justify their protests.

This is not the end of worry for the masses. As such, the RJD, which is the main opposition party in the state, has also given a call for “Bihar bandh” on Saturday (21 December) for which preparations are being made. Given the fact that the RJD enjoys huge support base among the minorities, the RJD bandh programme has emerged as a major worry for the local administration.