Normal life was affected in the city on Saturday due to the dawn-to-dusk bandh called by various outfits and political parties demanding that the Union and Puducherry governments take over the Sri Aurobindo Ashram in the wake of two evicted sisters and their mother killing themselves.
The normally bustling Puducherry bus stand wore a deserted look as all private and government buses kept off the roads.
No bus was operated from Puducherry to other destinations including Chennai, Villupuram and Cuddalore. Inter-State buses plying towards Puducherry were stopped at Gorimedu near the border.
Although public buses operated during the early hours of the day, services were subsequently stopped following protests by various outfits. However, train services were not affected.
Most of the markets and business establishments remained closed while government offices registered thin attendance. Schools and educational institutions in the city remained closed.
The Grand Bazaar market, which houses a number of wholesale and retail vegetable outlets, looked empty as the traders kept off from their routine activities. Similarly, shops on arterial roads including Jawaharlal Nehru Street, Mahatma Gandhi Street, Kamarajar Salai, Anna Salai, Mission Street and Bussy Street remained closed.
Most of the hotels and restaurants were closed causing inconvenience to tourists. However, roadside eateries functioned as usual. At least three buses including a Puducherry Road Transport Corporation (PRTC) vehicle were stoned by miscreants at various places in the city. No one was injured. As many as 100 cadres of the Puducherry Youth Congress led by president M. Ilayaraja took out a rally in support of the bandh and stormed the Legislative Assembly. They raised slogans against the Ashram and Chief Minister N. Rangasamy and demanded the Union government to take over the Ashram. Activists of various political parties were also arrested after they picketed the bus stand. Heavy police pickets were posted at the Ashram and other vulnerable locations to prevent any untoward incident.