Hundreds court arrest during Orissa shutdown (Lead)

June 6th, 2008 - 5:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, June 6 (IANS) Hundreds of workers and leaders of Left parties in Orissa were arrested Friday during the 12-hour shutdown of the state to protest the hike in prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas. The shutdown called by the Left parties hit normal life with transport and rail services being partially affected, an official said. The impact of the shutdown has been felt in cities where the Left parties are active, said an official of the state intelligence department.

The cities affected by the shutdown include Balasore, Bhadrak, Ganjam, Talcher, Rourkela, Jajpur, Sambalpur, Cuttack and state capital Bhubaneswar. There has been no report of any untoward incident, the official said.

Hundreds of activists of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) blocked roads in various cities by burning tyres.

The roads were cleared after hundreds of activists courted arrest, state Inspector General of Police (law and order) Pradeep Kapoor told IANS.

No untoward incident has been reported from any part of the state, he said.

“In Bhubaneswar, the (CPI-M) activists took out at least four processions shouting slogans against the price hike. Hundreds of activists sat on a railway line,” said party state secretary Janardan Pati.

“As per information reaching us, over 2,000 people courted arrest in the state,” said Pati.

Train services were affected in some places as the protesters sat on the railway tracks.

However, government offices in most parts of the state functioned normally, a state home department official said.

Most of the employees entered the state secretariat at Bhubaneswar before the reporting time and the secretariat’s main gate was locked around 10.15 a.m. to avoid any untoward incident, he said.

The central government Wednesday announced that the prices of petrol and diesel had been raised by Rs.5 and Rs.3 a litre respectively while each cylinder of cooking gas will cost Rs.50 more.

Bus and train services were affected partially in the state Thursday due to the protest by the state’e ruling Biju Janata Dal and Bharatiya Janata Party against the hike in fuel prices. The BJP and BJD leaders demanded withdrawal of the hikes.

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