Bharat Bandh: Day 1 Of Central Trade Unions' Protest Against Modi Govt's 'Anti-People' Policies

8 Jan 2019 12:41 PM GMT
Bharat Bandh: Day 1 Of Central Trade Unions Protest Against Modi Govts Anti-People Policies
Image Credits: Local Press

Central trade unions called a two-day nationwide strike on December 8 and 9 against unemployment and alleged ‘anti-people’, ‘anti-worker’ and repressive policies of the Modi government, reported NDTV.

Reportedly, a 57-year-old woman collapsed and died during trade unions’ protest in Uttar Kannada’s Mundagodi, reported News18. Over 5000 Bandh supporters blocked the Mumbai-Baroda-Jaipur-Delhi national highway while protestors threw stones at a Tamil Nadu bus in Puducherry.

Participation in the Bandh

10 Central trade unions – Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress(AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha(HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions(CITU), the workers’ aim of the Communist Party of India(Marxist) and All India United Trade Union Centre(AIUTUC) are participating in the strike.

Farm Unions like All India Kisan Sabha(AIKS) and Bhoomi Adhikar Andolan have also supported the Bandh. Students and teacher organization of various universities have declared their support to the strike.

Various organizations like affiliate Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh(BMS) and various organizations of Kerala like Kerala Textile and Garments Dealers Association, Kerala Hotel and Restaurants Association have decided to stay away from the strike, reported Indian Express.

Effect of the Bandh

AITUC General Secretary Amanjeet Kaur said that the Bandh is particularly visible in the “targeted industrial areas and different mines”. The Bandh is being observed in Assam, Kerala, West Bengal, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Karnataka, Manipur, Bihar, Rajasthan, Goa, Punjab, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Haryana.

Banking operations have been affected where two participating unions- All India Bank Employees’ Association(AIBEA) and Bank Employees’ Federation of India (BEFI) are strong. Operations in SBI and other bank unions remain unaffected as other bank unions are not participating in the strike.

Members of participating trade unions blocked railway line in Howrah, West Bengal. Police detained CPM protestors in Kolkata. Clashes broke out between TMC and CPM workers in Asansol during the strike, reported Hindustan Times. Transport department in Madhya Pradesh remained closed and Haryana Roadways is also supporting the strike.

In Karnataka, buses of Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) did not operate in most parts of the state but private buses and taxis were available. A holiday was declared and examinations postponed in several schools and colleges in the state.

Normal life came to a halt in Kerala as both private as state transport buses did not operate. Protestors also blocked trains in Trivandrum, Tripunithura and Shoranpur railway station. in Kerala. Although all other routes were closed, Kerala Road Transport Department operated buses from various destinations to foothills of Sabarimala temple to ensure Sabarimala pilgrims are not affected.

In Telangana, employees of private, government and unorganized sector are taking part in the strike. All educational institutions including schools, colleges and universities have been closed in Orissa and protestors stalled traffic on NH-16. Political parties including BJD have extended support to the Bandh. Trains were also stopped at many places including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Balasore, Jaleswar, Bhadrak, Sambalpur, Berhampur, and Paradip.

Trade Union leaders said that the government has “failed to create jobs and grossly ignored” the 12-point charter of demands which includes minimum wages and universal social security scheme. Protestors plan to march from Mandi House to parliament on Monday and similar marches will be held across the country.

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