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Bihar Bandh: Large-scale Disruption of Traffic, Vandalism and Arson Mark Anti-Citizenship Act Protests

Educational institutions and commercial establishments remained open by and large as police personnel were on their guard preventing band supporters from enforcing the bandh, many of whom were also rounded up.

PTI

Updated:December 19, 2019, 6:06 PM IST
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Bihar Bandh: Large-scale Disruption of Traffic, Vandalism and Arson Mark Anti-Citizenship Act Protests
College students protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. (PTI)

Patna: Bihar witnessed large-scale disruption of traffic, vandalism and arson on Thursday on account of a state-wide shutdown called by Left parties in protest against amended Citizenship Act and the proposed country-wide implementation of National Register of Citizens.

Several small parties like controversial former MP Pappu Yadavs Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) and former Bollywood set designer Mukesh Sahnis Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP) the latter a constituent of the opposition Grand Alliance in the state took active part in the dawn-to-dusk protests.

The Grand Alliances largest constituent RJD extended "moral support" to the bandh though its cadre stayed away from enforcing the same, saying they have called a shutdown against the amended Citizenship Act and proposed nationwide NRC on Saturday, December 21.

Other constituents of the coalition Congress, RLSP and HAM had on Wednesday pledged support to both the shutdowns though not much active participation was seen from these parties.

In the state capital, the JAP a fledgling outfit remained in the spotlight as it took the lead in vandalizing buses and cars, burning tyres on the roads to obstruct movement of vehicles and squatting on railway tracks to prevent trains from running on time.

The JAP activists also came up with several camera-friendly forms of protest. Some of them males donned saris and gyrated lustily to the tunes of ribald Bhojpuri numbers on the Mahatma Gandhi Setu across the Ganges that connects the capital city to north Bihar while many others demonstrated on the streets bare-chested notwithstanding the chilly weather.

Yadav, who was recently served with a notice by the Patna district administration under Section 107 of the Criminal Procedure Code which he had equated with a "house arrest", marched on the streets accompanied by supporters all of them wearing handcuffs and shackles around their legs accusing the government of trying to smother dissent.

Around afternoon, a huge swarm of Left activists gathered at the Dak Bungalow crossing in the heart of the city, enthused by the presence among them of young CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who has in the recent past participated in similar protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in other parts of Bihar as well as outside the state.

Educational institutions and commercial establishments remained open by and large as police personnel were on their guard preventing band supporters from enforcing the bandh, many of whom were also rounded up.

Citizens were bemused to see Sanjay Paswan, an outspoken MLC of the BJP, hitting the streets along with scores of supporters.

"I am carrying out this demonstration in protest against attempts by the opposition to mislead the nation on issues like CAA and NRC. It is our duty to caution the people against these elements", Paswan told reporters.

In the politically sensitive north Bihar town of Muzaffarpur, a massive procession was taken out by Left parties. They were joined by members of several Muslim organizations, who carried the tricolor and pictures of Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru and raised slogans accusing the Narendra Modi government at the Centre of reneging on the ideals espoused by the countrys founding fathers.

In Begusarai, a former Left bastion, which is currently the Lok Sabha constituency of Union minister Giriraj Singh, scores of women donning Burqas hit the streets in protest the legislation and the proposed NRC carrying huge banners with "save the Constitution, save the country" inscribed thereon.

In Bhagalpur, a communally sensitive town known for its silk industry, bandh supporters burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

Long queues of stranded vehicles were seen on national highways close to Muzaffarpur, Begusarai and Jehanabad where police personnel had a tough time convincing the bandh supporters many of whom had placed heaps of burning tyres on the roads - to allow the plying of cars, buses and trucks.

"Rail traffic has been normal barring one or two stray incidents", the East Central Railway headquartered at Hajipur said in a statement.

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