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Bharat Bandh: Govt Rules Out Excise Duty Cut on Petrol, Diesel Amid Nationwide Protests

News18.com | September 10, 2018, 9:54 PM IST
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Bharat Bandh News Live Updates: The Congress on Monday demanded the Narendra Modi government cut the excise duty and customs duty on petrol and diesel after what it called was a successful Bharat Bandh from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Centre can't hide behind the excuse of "global reasons" for the high prices as it had increased taxes substantially in the last few years. He also thanked the 20 other opposition parties for joining the nationwide strike.

Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had earlier questioned Rahul Gandhi and Congress over the death of a minor girl in Bihar. A two-year-old girl died as the vehicle carrying her to Jehanabad civil hospital got stuck in road blockade by bandh supporters. Her parents said if they were allowed to move ahead, their daughter's life could have been saved. Hitting at the Congress over the issue, Prasad said, "Atmosphere of fear is being created in the country. Who will take responsibility for the child's death? Congress must give an answer."
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Sep 10, 2018 9:54 pm (IST)

CLICK TO READ | With Sporadic Violence, Congress Leads Bharat Bandh Against Rising Fuel Prices as BJP Dubs it a 'Flop Show'

In states like Kerala, Karnataka, Bihar, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh, life was hit by the shutdown while Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Mizoram remained largely unaffected.

Sep 10, 2018 8:52 pm (IST)
Sep 10, 2018 7:43 pm (IST)

CM Chouhan's Son's Shop at the Centre of Bandh in Bhopal | In Bhopal, a flower shop owned by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's son Kartikey was at the centre of a protest by Congress workers. The shop, situated in Ravishankar Market, later downed shutters following the protest, said Madhya Pradesh Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi

Sep 10, 2018 7:28 pm (IST)

Madhya Pradesh Congress Calls BJP 'Anarchic' | The Congress' Bharat bandh against rising fuel prices and depreciation of the rupee on Monday saw party workers in Madhya Pradesh carry out rallies and hold protests outside commercial establishments and fuel pumps that were open. While the MP Congress called the shutdown successful, the ruling BJP accused the former of adopting "anarchic" ways to intimidate people to enforce the bandh.

Sep 10, 2018 7:19 pm (IST)

Mumbai police said 'No serious incidents have been reported':

Sep 10, 2018 7:01 pm (IST)

Addressing a public meeting in Hanumangarh district's Bhadra town during her Gaurav Yatra, Raje said she understands that the increase in fuel prices affect people's budget and hence the state government decided to reduce the VAT. "The decision will benefit people, including farmers, women, students, government employees who use vehicles," Raje said.

Sep 10, 2018 6:58 pm (IST)

Raj CM Calls Congress's Bharat Bandh a 'Drama'| Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje said on Monday the Congress was engaging in a "drama" by observing a nationwide shutdown over increasing fuel prices, stressing that her government has reduced VAT on petrol and diesel to give relief to people.

Sep 10, 2018 6:46 pm (IST)

Lalu Prasad Yadav tweets on Bharat Bandh:

Sep 10, 2018 6:44 pm (IST)

The government anticipates that international oil prices, which together with a drop in the value of rupee has been fuelling the fuel price rise to record levels, will moderate in coming days to take pressure off. The comments come on a day when opposition parties held nationwide protests against record high petrol and diesel prices. Prices in Delhi, where rates are the cheapest among all metros and most state capitals because of lower VAT, saw petrol touch an all-time high of Rs 80.73 per litre Monday while diesel scaled to new high of Rs 72.83 a litre.

Sep 10, 2018 6:43 pm (IST)

Govt Rules Out Excise Duty Cut | A cut in taxes on petrol and diesel is ruled out for now as neither the central government nor some states have the appetite to stomach revenue loss from such a move, a top government official said Monday.While a cut in excise duty that the central government levies will impact fiscal deficit, states like Bihar, Kerala, and Punjab are not in a position to cut sales tax (or VAT), the official, who wished not to be identified, said.

Sep 10, 2018 6:41 pm (IST)

Sena Abstained from Bharat Bandh Not Under BJP's Influence | Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut rubbished talks of senior BJP leaders asking Sena to stay away from nationwide Bharat Bandh called by the Congress to protest against the rising prices of fuel. Raut said that it was the Shiv Sena's decision to abstain from participating in the "Bharat Bandh" and its stand had nothing to do with the BJP. "No BJP leader has asked the Shiv Sena to stay away from the bandh. Its our own decision," he said.

Sep 10, 2018 6:22 pm (IST)

Supporters of Congress party shout anti-government slogans during a nationwide Bharat Bandh against the hike in fuel prices, in Chandigarh:

Sep 10, 2018 6:19 pm (IST)

Speaking to reporters outside the Chennai airport on Monday morning, Lok Sabha Deputy Speaker and AIADMK MP Thambidurai M said "Bandhs called by the Opposition are common, but Congress leading this particular bandh is disingenuous. It was under the Congress rule' in the Centre that the authority to regulate oil prices in the country was handed over to private companies. This has hurt the public while profiting private players. The current government at the centre is only following previously set down plans."

Sep 10, 2018 6:17 pm (IST)

Odisha Congress to Set up a Team to Look into Violence | A team will be formed comprising four senior party leaders to enquire about any incidents of voilence by any alleged Congress party workers during the Bharat Bandh in Odisha, Firstpost reported. "If found guilty they will face the music," says Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik said. He also added that he suspected some people who were not belonging to the party took advantage of the situation and caused trouble in the name of the party.

Sep 10, 2018 6:02 pm (IST)

Labourers sit in front of a closed shop in Agartala during a nationwide Bharat Bandh to protest against the hike in fuel prices:

Sep 10, 2018 5:55 pm (IST)

Kaukab Qadri, rather blamed Pappu Yadav for the violence caused during Bharat bandh. He accused him of creating trouble on the instructions of the BJP and termed him an agent of the saffron party.

Sep 10, 2018 5:54 pm (IST)

Speaking on the Jehanabad incident, Bihar Congress president Kaukab Qadri said, "Our supporters did not stop any ambulance as being reported. The child was sick for the last three days. My heart goes out to the bereaved family. We have appealed to the District Magistrate to provide some immediate relief to the family."

Sep 10, 2018 5:52 pm (IST)

Jharkhand IG Operation , Aashish Batra said, "In all 9500 taken into preventive custody  during the Bharat Bandh. Taking precaution, all important congress leaders were taken into custody and 5000 extra forces were deployed."

Sep 10, 2018 5:50 pm (IST)

Makrand Deuskar, IG Law & Order, Madhya Pradesh on Bharat Bandh:

Sep 10, 2018 5:49 pm (IST)

Protest in Leh | In the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir, heavy protests by the Congress party begin for the hike in petrol and diesel prices.

Sep 10, 2018 5:45 pm (IST)

The bereaved father of the two-year-old said, "I took NH 83 which is the main route to Jehanabad. There were obstacles on road everywhere. My daughter fell unconscious in between and as the three-wheeler entered the outskirts of Jehanabad my baby died." Locals said the protesters had laid siege to the NH in Horilganj area also where the child breathed her last. Pramod Manjhi said if his vehicle was allowed to move ahead smoothly then the life of his daughter could have been saved. "It took three hours to reach the outskirts of Jehanabad from my village which takes barely an hour on a normal day," he added.

Sep 10, 2018 5:44 pm (IST)

Bebi Kumar, a native of Balabigha village under main police station area of Gaya, was suffering from loose motion for the last two days. As her condition deteriorated due to acute dehydration, her father, Pramod Manjhi, decided to take her to a doctor in Jehanabad civil hospital. Pramod Manjhi alleged that he faced difficulty in arranging any vehicle due to Bandh and after much delay an autorickshaw agreed to carry the child. 

Sep 10, 2018 5:43 pm (IST)

ADG Law and Order Sanjiv Kumar Singhal on Jehanabad incident said, 'The Superintendent of Police is investigating the incident, but there is no denying that the girl child collapsed on her way to the hospital."

Sep 10, 2018 5:37 pm (IST)

Chirag Paswan Slammed Bharat Bandh Supporters | LJP parliamentary party leader Chirag Paswan slammed the Bandh supporters for not allowing free movement of the vehicle carrying a two-year-old in Jehanabad who later died on her way to the hospital. However, he demanded the union government to review sharp rise in petroleum prices

Sep 10, 2018 5:27 pm (IST)

RECAP | A two-year-old girl died on her way to Jehanabad civil hospital in Bihar as the vehicle carrying her got stuck in a road blockade caused by Bharat Bandh supporters on Monday.The incident acquired a political colour when Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned Rahul Gandhi and Congress over the death of the minor girl. Hitting out at the Congress over the issue, Prasad said, "Atmosphere of fear is being created in the country. Who will take responsibility for the child's death? Congress must give an answer."

Sep 10, 2018 5:22 pm (IST)

Supporters of the Congress party burn an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during nationwide Bharat Bandh against the hike in fuel prices in Bengaluru:

Sep 10, 2018 5:18 pm (IST)

BJP Condemns Congress' Resort to Violence on Bharat Bandh | "We are standing with people in their problem. We are trying to redress the issue and will do that," he told a press conference. Prasad claimed that the people understood the government's point of view and refused to support the 'Bharat Bandh' call given by the Congress and several other opposition parties. "That is unnerving the Congress and other opposition parties. Their resort to violence is designed to overawe the people of India. An atmosphere of fear is being created," he said

Sep 10, 2018 5:16 pm (IST)

Law Minister Acknowledges People's Momentary Difficulty | Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad acknowledged that the people were facing "momentary difficulty" due to increasing petrol and diesel prices and said they understand that this was due to factors beyond the control of the central government.Noting that oil prices had gone down after the Bharatiya Janata Party government came to power in May 2014, before they went up, he said it is a problem whose solution is not in its hands.

Sep 10, 2018 5:14 pm (IST)

BJP Rebukes Congress for Violence | The BJP Monday defended the rise in oil prices, attributing it to global factors, and accused the Congress and other opposition parties of resorting to violence during the 'Bharat Bandh' as people did not support their call.

Sep 10, 2018 5:11 pm (IST)

'Modi Govt Daydreaming' | The Left leaders said the BJP was not batting an eyelid over the miseries it has created for the people. The ruling party is "daydreaming" to be in power for 50 years, they said, referring to BJP chief Amit Shah's claim at the party's national executive meet in Delhi Sunday. "They did not even mention about the fuel price hike, farmers' distress in their executive meet. It shows they are not worried about the people but only want to be in power. They are daydreaming. They will not come back to power in the coming 50 years," said CPI leader D Raja.

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Bharat Bandh: Govt Rules Out Excise Duty Cut on Petrol, Diesel Amid Nationwide Protests
Congress President Rahul Gandhi with others leaders takes part in a protest march during the 'Bharat Bandh' protest called by Congress and other parties against fuel price hike and depreciation of the rupee, in New Delhi, Monday. (PTI Photo)

He said that the hike in prices of petroleum products was a "momentary difficulty" due to the international crisis, and condemned the incidents of violence during the Bharat Bandh. The Bharatiya Janata Party claimed that the shutdown was "unsuccessful" because people understand the reasons why petrol and diesel prices were going up.

"Why the people of India are indifferent to Bharat Bandh? They understand the rise in fuel prices, though temporary, is because of factors beyond the control of the Indian government and ordinary indian," Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told the media. He said that in spite of some "momentary difficulty", the people don't support the Bandh. "This is unnerving the Congress and other opposition parties. That is why they are resorting to violence. "Bharat Bandh has been unsuccessful. We condemn the violence being used to instil fear among citizens across the country."

In the national capital, Congress president Rahul Gandhi lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government and said that only 15-20 people are benefiting under BJP's regime. He accused the government of inciting hatred among countrymen. "PM has shown path to capitalists and entrepreneurs, but has led farmers, women and youth towards darkness," Gandhi said. Earlier in the day, he visited Raj Ghat along with senior Congress leaders Ashok Gehlot and Ghulam Nabi Azad to pay tribute to Mahatma Gandhi before formally joining the protest.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also attacked PM Modi and called his government 'despotic'. He asked a united Opposition to keep aside their differences and work together to fight the Bharatiya Janata Party government, which has 'failed to fulfil promises'. "Public is tired and angry; farmers are upset; youth is disturbed. There are no jobs," he said. Singh along with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi joined Congress president Rahul Gandhi at Ramlila Maidan as Opposition observes Bharat Bandh against rising fuel prices. Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) patron Sharad Yadav was also seen sharing stage with the senior Congress leaders.

Congress' Gujarat in-charge and MP Rajeev Satav, GPCC president Amit Chavda and other leaders were detained while protesting during Bharat Bandh. Opposition party workers allegedly halted trains at various stations in West Bengal, while their attempts in Maharashtra were foiled by the police as they were chased away and services were resumed. People participating in nationwide shutdown in West Bengal went on a complete rampage. They climbed atop police vehicles and efforts by officers to curb them seemed to have failed. Tyres were burnt on roads, traffic was blocked, people carried motorcycles on shoulder and some travelled on carts to register their protest, while causing inconvenience to commuters.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) workers in Mumbai's Chembur garlanded donkeys during protest. Congress activists in Madhya Pradesh's Ujjain allegedly vandalised a petrol pump and forced shops to close.The party workers in Bihar were seen protesting with gas cylinders on their heads and wearing a host of messages round their neck that conveyed people's sentiments towards the 'false promise of acche din' by the Modi government.

In West Bengal Durgapur, five Congress and Left workers were detained today after they tried to stop Agniveena Express, even as the West Bengal government is making all efforts to not let the the protests affect essential services in the state. The Mamata Banerjee government has deployed 1,500 policemen in the state and 500 extra buses are plying on the roads. The government, in fact, has issued a circular saying that government workers' one day salary will be deducted if they fail to turn up at their respective offices.

As of now, Bihar seems to be the worst affected with bandh supporters stopping trains, blocking traffic on almost all key highways and Mahatma Gandhi Setu in northern part of the state.

Schools and colleges in several districts of the country are likely to remain closed today in view of the Bharat Bandh called by the Indian National Congress with support from other opposition parties. As the political outfits unite to protest against the Modi government over rising fuel prices, the cost of petrol rose to 80.73 per litre in Delhi, continuing to burn a hole in the common man's pocket. While petrol price was hiked by Rs 0.23, cost of diesel was Rs 72.83 per litre on Monday.

Karnataka, ruled by the Congress-JD(S), is likely to be most affected with buses staying off the road. Top opposition leaders like Sharad Pawar in Maharashtra, MK Stalin in Tamil Nadu and Left leaders have openly extended their support to the Bharat Bandh. Among opposition parties, the ruling Trinamool Congress in West Bengal has decided to stay away from the Bharat Bandh but expressed support on the issues.

The Indian National Congress has appealed to party workers to maintain peace and not to associate with any violent protests. The party has demanded that petrol and diesel be brought under GST, which could lead to Rs 15 to Rs 18 drop in fuel prices.

"I appeal all Congress workers to make the bandh violence-free. We are Mahatma Gandhi's party and we should not associate ourselves with any violence," Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken said at a media briefing. Petrol and diesel prices set new records Sunday. According to the price notification issued by state fuel retailers, petrol price was raised by Rs 12 paise a litre and diesel by Rs 10 paise per litre on Sunday.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the Narendra Modi government has "looted" Rs 11 lakh crore from the people of the country in the last 52 months and was running a "profiteering company" rather than a government. The way gas, diesel and petrol prices are increasing every day, it has caused great distress to farmers, he said.

"We demand that petrol and diesel be brought under the ambit of the GST. High prices of petrol and diesel found no mention in the BJP's national executive meeting because they are not bothered about the pain of public," Surjewala said.

He also urged people to bring about a change in the country by ousting the BJP from power.

Earlier, Congress spokesperson Ajay Maken said 21 opposition parties are supporting the Bharat bandh, besides a number of chambers of commerce and traders' associations. "DMK will extend complete support to the Bharat Bandh call by the Indian National Congress protesting against the BJP government for steep rise in prices of petrol and diesel. I urge the people and party cadre to make the bandh on September 10 a big success," Stalin has said.

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