Bharat bandh against CAA, NRC evokes mixed response in Bihar
The Bharat Bandh called by several organisations against the CAA and the proposed nationwide NRC on Wednesday evoked mixed response in Bihar. Leaders of various political parties hit the streets in the state capital which was, by and large, unaffected by the bandh with shops and offices remaining open.
However, roads in Patna witnessed major traffic snarls due to demonstrations staged by leaders of parties such as former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi's HAM, former Union minister Upendra Kushwaha's RLSP, muscleman-turned-politician Pappu Yadav's Jan Adhikar Party and the Left. Insisting that the bandh was successful and people were "up in arms against the draconian legislation (CAA)", Manjhi attributed normal functioning of commercial establishments to "restraint and discipline" on part of the bandh-supporters.
He also claimed that many shops have downed their shutters voluntarily. Asked about anti-CAA protests getting a bad name in the wake of Sharjeel Imam's arrest on sedition charges, Manjhi said, "I do not think the young man holds views detrimental to national integrity. Nonetheless, let the matter be probed. If he is found guilty, he would face appropriate action. A few black sheep do not imply that the cause has been defeated." Supporters of Pappu Yadav, who had wrought havoc during the state-wide bandh called by Left parties last month leading to a major police crackdown, appeared subdued.
They avoided indulging in violence but caused disruption of traffic through processions and lying down on roads claiming it to be a Gandhian type of civil disobedience. Yadav himself took part in a few processions but stayed away from the antics of the previous occasion when he had paraded on the streets wearing handcuffs and with his feet chained.
Workers of Lalu Prasad's RJD, known for their strong- arm tactics during shutdowns, were conspicuous by their absence on the streets though its state unit issued a statement claiming it had "fully supported" the bandh which was "a complete success". Bandh-supporters pelted with stones at policemen in Siwan and they dispersed after a lathi-charge. A case was being registered, police sources said.
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