Patna: Normal life was hit on Thursday in parts of Bihar during a State-wide bandh called by Left parties in protest against the alleged sexual abuse of minor girls at a shelter home in Muzaffarpur city and against incidents of atrocity on Dalits. The main opposition RJD and the Congress have lent their support to the day-long bandh.
In Patna, bandh supporters were seen forcing shopping establishments to down their shutters at various places.
There was a skirmish between bandh supporters, including a number of women, and police near Gandhi Maidan, where the agitators were shouting slogans against the Nitish Kumar government.
Bandh supporters were also seen forcing owners of bookshops and coaching institutes near Patna University campus to close them.
Most of the leading schools remained shut in view of the difficulties teachers and students were likely to face while commuting.
In Muzaffarpur, CPI(ML) activists were joined by RJD workers in enforcing the bandh.
They staged the demonstration outside the residence of Brajesh Thakur, the arrested patron of the NGO which ran the State-funded shelter home where the inmates were allegedly sexually abused.
A report from Sheikhpura district said rail traffic remained disrupted for close to an hour as bandh supporters squatted on tracks at Sheikhpura station, blocking movement of Howrah-Gaya Express.
GRP in-charge Vinod Kumar said many of the agitators climbed on to the engine of the train, carrying flags and banners, and after much persuasion by police, they allowed the train to resume its journey.
Road traffic was also disrupted at various places in the district, including on National Highway 333A.
In Bhojpur district, CPI(ML) supporters blocked the key Koilwar bridge, severely hampering the movement of traffic to and from the neighbouring state of Uttar Pradesh.
In Siwan, a road blockade was staged by Left parties, who were joined by RJD workers.
Last night, Left parties had taken out a “mashal juloos” (march carrying torches) in various parts of the state to mobilise public support in favour of the bandh.
The Congress, the RJD, and the Hindustani Awam Morcha had issued statements extending support to the shut-down.
State Agriculture Minister and senior BJP leader Prem Kumar said the bandh was called to harass people. “The Muzaffarpur shelter home case has been handed over to CBI. The government has been sensitive to Dalits’ plight,” he said.