Public transport system was entirely off the road

The National Democratic Alliance's call for a Bharat bandh received overwhelming support in the BJP-ruled Gujarat, with almost all shops and business establishments in Ahmedabad and other parts remaining closed on Monday. Normal life came to a grinding halt.

Almost all schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions and most of the offices, except government offices, remained closed.

A few offices which opened in the morning were forced to close down as bandh supporters, armed with lathis, moved round the areas and threatened to ransack the premises if the shutters were not downed.

People at railway stations, bus stations and other public places suffered silently as the public transport system was entirely off the road. In Ahmedabad, only a few autorickshaws were plying on the roads and the harassed passengers had to compete with one another to catch one of the vehicles, what with municipal as well as state transport bus services taken off the road following sporadic scuffles in different parts of the State.

Except in the prime localities, bank branches remained closed, while petrol pumps also shut down. Even roadside tea stalls and pan shops preferred to take a day off. In Gujarat, the bandh call was given, in addition against fuel price hike, to protest the “misuse” of the Central Bureau of Investigation to “harass” leaders in the BJP government.

Though the bandh was by and large peaceful, reports here said some BJP supporters ransacked the Saurashtra stock exchange office in Rajkot and damaged its furniture. Party workers also forced the closure of the stock exchange office in Vadodara as well as the diamond market in Surat.

Reports of skirmishes between BJP workers and shopkeepers were received from the Chowk Bazaar and Katargam areas in Surat, parts of Vadodara and Rajkot, and some other centres.

The Gujarat High Court and lower courts could not transact any business as lawyers stayed away from work, with the Bar associations of different courts supporting the bandh call.

Keywords: bandhGujarat