Friday, September 27, 2002, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi


M A I N   N E W S

Stray incidents mark bandh
Stabbing cases in Gujarat, clashes in UP

Activists of the BJP shout anti-Pakistan slogans while clashing with the police during a demonstration near the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi on Thursday.  — Reuters photo
A scene of the main market of Bhopal
A scene of the main market of Bhopal which remained closed during the bandh on Thursday.
— PTI photo

New Delhi, September 26
Stray incidents of violence in Gujarat, where some cases of stabbing were reported, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh marred the otherwise peaceful countrywide bandh called by the VHP and the Shiv Sena today in protest against the terrorist attack on the Akshardham temple.

With special security arrangements in place throughout the country to prevent any communal backlash, the dawn-to-dusk bandh was near total in all three states, where normal life was almost paralysed.

The bandh also had some impact in Bihar, Kerala, Uttaranchal, Assam and Karnataka where most educational institutions and business establishments remained closed.

Hundreds of VHP and Shiv Sena volunteers were rounded up when they tried to forcibly close down shops and business establishments, forcing the police at some places, including Lucknow, to use baton to disperse them.

The country’s financial capital Mumbai was paralysed, with banks and financial institutions wearing a deserted look. Clearing operations were affected in the RBI.

In Gujarat, where the Army has been deployed in sensitive areas, two persons were allegedly stabbed by Bajrang Dal activists in the textile city of Surat. In Ahmedabad, which recently witnessed large-scale communal violence, Army convoys moved around, keeping a tight vigil.

Life in the Capital remained normal and unaffected by the bandh.

Defence Minister George Fernandes, who flew to Ahmedabad this morning to oversee deployment of Army personnel, held a meeting with Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

Schools, colleges and private establishments remained closed while attendance in government offices and financial institutions was thin.

In Vadodara, the bandh was total and peaceful. Three columns of the Army, one company of the CRPF and five companies of the SRP have been deployed to keep a strict vigil over the situation.

In Maharashtra, there were incidents of stone-throwing and squatting on rail tracks, resulting in disruption of suburban train traffic.

In Lucknow, several vehicles were damaged when bandh supporters indulged in heavy stone-throwing. There were also reports of clashes between the bandh supporters and shopkeepers in the posh Hazratganj area.

Traffic was also blocked on the Varanasi-Azamgarh state highway. In Aligarh, 20 VHP workers were taken into custody when they were taking out a procession and raising slogans in the sensitive old city areas.

Meanwhile, the VHP today claimed the “Bharat bandh” called by it in protest against the Akshardham temple attack was “total” as it made a scathing attack on the BJP for not supporting it overtly and the BJP-led government for its failure to check terrorism.

“The bandh was total and peaceful except for some sporadic incidents. It dashed the hopes of those who were looking forward to some violence to defame the VHP,” the Sangh Parivar outfit’s central secretary and spokesman Veereshwar Dwivedi told reporters here. PTI

Our Correspondent adds from Kolkata: The Congress and the CPM-led Left parties stood united against the VHP’s calling of Bharat bandh. The Trinamool Congress, which is a partner of the NDA, however, neither supported nor openly opposed the bandh, which was supported by state BJP.

The Trinamool Congress as well as the Congress separately observed the day as martyrs’ day in memory of the victims.

In Kolkata and the rest of the state, people came forward openly against the bandh. Except in some areas in South 24 Parganas and Birbhum districts, where the VHP has some domination, nowhere the people responded to the bandh call.

Train services in the Canning-Budge section of Sealdah division were disrupted for some time as VHP workers obstructed the track. But the police soon intervened and train services on this section were soon restored.Back

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