Patna: Normal life was hit in many parts of Bihar today by a day-long strike called by the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) to protest the killing of a village head and the subsequent police lathicharge on the protesters demanding probe into the case, officials said.
More than 500 CPI-ML activists, including party general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, were detained for disturbing peace when they were enforcing strike, police said.
Bhattacharya led a procession of hundreds of party activists in Patna, shouting slogans against Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and demanding justice for Sonhathu village head Devendra Singh alias Chhotu, who was shot dead near Dhamni village of Haspura block in Aurangabad district on April 29.
“Our strike received overwhelming support. It was a success because people are fed up of deteriorating law and order… there is anger against Nitish Kumar’s government,” said Bhattacharya to the media persons minutes before his detention.
The CPI-ML’s daylong strike was supported by opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Communist Party of India.
According to railway officials, the protesters forcibly stopped trains in Darbhanga, Ara, Gaya, Samastipur, Vaishali, Begusarai, Bhagalpur, and Jehanabad districts, disrupting the services.
Police officials said that CPI-ML activists blocked national highways in over a dozen districts that severely hit road traffic.
In Patna, the strike evoked mixed response with shops and business establishments remaining closed in some localities, though banks and other financial institutions were open.
Most central and state government offices wore a deserted look because of poor attendance.
The opposition parties CPI-ML and RJD had strongly protested the incident May 2 during which police burst teargas shells, fired shots in the air and lathicharged the protesters who were demanding a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the case.
RJD chief Lalu Prasad had visited the slain village head’s home and addressed a public meeting in Dhamni village May 6.