Strike evokes a near total response in Bihar (Second Lead)

July 10th, 2010 - 6:33 pm ICT by IANS  

Ram Vilas Paswan Patna, July 10 (IANS) A strike called by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) to protest against the fuel price hike hit train and road services and paralysed normal life across Bihar Saturday.
More than 5,000 protesters, including RJD chief Lalu Prasad and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, were arrested during the dawn-to-dusk strike.

RJD and LJP activists stopped over a dozen long-distance trains at Patna, Gaya, Jehanabad, Hajipur, Bhagalpur and Darbhanga railway stations as part of their shutdown.

“Train services have been badly disrupted due to the shutdown since Saturday morning, leaving hundreds stranded at railway stations,” an East Central Railway official told IANS over telephone from Hajipur, the zonal headquarters.

Police said strike supporters blocked important roads including the national highway and state highway at various places.

Lalu Prasad said that the strike was a total success and thanked people for their response.

The RJD and the LJP did not join the all-India shutdown called by the rest of the opposition parties July 5 that virtually crippled the country.

In Patna, busy roads like Ashok Rajpath, Bailey Road, Patna-Danapur Road and Fraser Road were blocked.

At Danapur near Patna, RJD and LJP workers took out a protest march of buffaloes and in Nalanda the protesters took out a march of bullock carts.

“Road services were also hit. No long-route buses are plying. Highways are deserted. Trucks have halted at different places,” a police officer said. In Patna, shops and markets were also closed. So were most schools.

Paswan, former central ministers and RJD leaders Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav and Kanti Singh staged protests in Patna.

In Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Bettiah, Hajipur, Darbhanga, Jamui, Banka and Jehanabad, hundreds of women took to the streets.

They held placards, posters and banners and shouted slogans demanding the withdrawal of the fuel price hike.

The central government ended curbs on petroleum pricing and hiked the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas last month.

The price of diesel went up by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene by Rs.3 a litre, petrol by Rs.3.50 a litre, and cooking gas by Rs.35 per cylinder.

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