Left and non-BJP opposition parties on Tuesday gave a call for a 12-hour nation-wide strike on July 5 to protest against the government’s decision to increase the prices of petroleum products.

Besides the four Left parties, the AIADMK, TDP, Samajwadi Party, BJD, JD(S) and INLD “have decided to call for a country-wide hartal on July 5”, a joint statement by top leaders of CPI(M), CPI, RSP and Forward Bloc said here.

“On top of the food inflation at nearly 17 per cent and the general inflation rate in double digit, the Congress-led government has callously raised the fuel prices making the burden on the people unbearable,” the statement signed by Prakash Karat (CPI-M), A.B. Bardhan (CPI), Debabrata Biswas (Forward Bloc) and T.J. Chandrachoodan (RSP) said.

They said the Congress-led government has “delivered another cruel blow” to the people by increasing the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene and cooking gas “steeply”, de-regulating prices and leaving it to the market.

Maintaining that the government was using “deceptive arguments” to justify the hike and “refuses” to listen to people’s protests, the statement said the only option left was to “launch a powerful collective protest to compel the government to heed to their voice and withdraw the hikes”.

They criticised the government for refusing to take any effective step to curb price rise of food and other essential items which was “causing acute suffering to the people”.

The Left leaders said they were in discussions with some other secular opposition parties to join the hartal, which will be held from 6 am to 6 pm on July 5.

All essential services like supply of water, milk, electricity, hospital and emergency services will be exempt from the hartal, they said.