Train services were affected and roads blocked in Bihar on Saturday during a bandh called by the RJD against the new citizenship law while West Bengal, Assam and Meghalaya were peaceful.
In Patna, hundreds of RJD supporters stormed railway stations and bus stands carrying sticks and party flags in support of the bandh, but were chased away by the police. The Bandh supporters, in Nawada, staged a demonstration on national highway 31 where they burnt tires on the road causing disruption in the movement of vehicles while agitators held a protest at Zero Mile Chowk in Muzaffarpur.
Train services were affected after RJD activists squatted on railway tracks in Araria and East Champaran districts, officials said.
The Additional Director-General of Police (Headquarters), Mr. Jitendra Kumar, said, ‘Adequate forces have been deployed in all districts of Bihar and officials concerned were asked to deal sternly with anyone trying to foment trouble.’
Mr. Tejashwi Yadav, Leader of the Opposition in Bihar Assembly and heir apparent to Mr. Lalu Prasad, marched in a large procession from the party office in Bir Chand Patel Marg to Dak Bunglow crossing, throwing traffic the busy Fraser Road and Bailey Road in Patna out of gear.
At some places, party workers known for their strong arm tactics to enforce bandhs, tried an image makeover by presenting people with roses and urging them with folded hands to support the shutdown in ‘national interest’. The shutdown, that came two days after a bandh was called on the same issue by Left parties, is being supported by other constituents of the Grand Alliance like the Congress and the Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP).
The RLSP chief, Mr. Upendra Kushwaha, a former Union minister, took part in a march in Patna. Meanwhile, the situation in Assam and West Bengal was normal while mobile internet services were restored in Meghalaya, officials said.
The ban on mobile Internet and mass messaging services, imposed on December 12 in the Northeast, was lifted at 7 pm on Friday due to improvement in law and order situation, a senior home department official said. The curfew imposed in Sadar and Lumdiengjri police station limits in Shillong was relaxed for 16 hours from 5 am on Saturday and no untoward incident was reported in the past 24 hours, the East Khasi Hills District Magistrate,Mr. M W Nongbri, said.
In Assam, protesters took out peaceful rallies in various parts on Saturday, police said. The curfew imposed in Dibrugarh following violent protests was relaxed for 16 hours since 6 am on Saturday as the law and order situation improved, they said.
The All Assam Students’ Union (AASU), which is spearheading the agitation, has planned a sit-in during the day in Guwahati. Mobile internet services were restored on Friday in Assam after nine days of its suspension while broadband services had resumed on December 18.
According to sources, the West Bengal police have stepped up vigil and beefed up security arrangements in various parts of the state in order to prevent any untoward incident.
The state BJP is scheduled to conduct rallies and marches in Kolkata and several districts in support of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019.
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