The bandh called by the Madhya Pradesh Congress, to protest against the massacre of their party men in Chattisgarh's Sukma district on May 25, passed off with only minor incidents of skirmishes in the State. The bandh, from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. was largely restricted to commercial areas in district headquarters across the State.
Congress' media committee chairperson Manak Agarwal said, "(Chhattisgarh CM) Raman Singh is in cahoots with the Maoists as he only gave security for the BJP's Vikas Yatra and not the Congress' Parivartan Yatra (which was ambushed)." Despite Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi's directive against politicising the issue, effigies of Raman Singh were burnt across the State.
Barring the use of "mild force" by the police in Bhopal during the picketing of a hotel, no major police action was reported and no Congressmen have been taken into custody for enforcing the strike.
Police spokesperson Pradeep Bhatia said that the police made no arrests as "it is a democratic right to protest." No additional forces were deployed as the police did not consider it a law and order problem.
In Bhopal, Congress activists were dispersed by the police while trying to force the closure of a hotel. Pharmacies were exempted from the bandh. In cities like Jabalpur, petrol stations were also exempt. Bhopal's mini bus operators joined the bandh and only public buses and, auto rickshaws and magic vans — in reduced numbers — operated.
In Indore, party workers and Mahila Congress activists smeared with red liquid, that they claimed was blood, offered rosesto shopkeepers are urged them to shut shop. Most shops complied.
CPI-ML (KN Ramachandran group) state committee member Vijay Kumar said that his party did not support either the bandh or the political one-upmanship over the Maoist attack. His party has unions among construction workers, security guards and domestic workers.
"It is daily wage earners who lose their wages during bandhs. Both the Maoists and the Salwa Judum should be challenged politically and not through violence of bandh dramas," said Mr. Kumar.