Life paralysed at laege parts of north Bengal, nine buses damaged

Report by: 
ANUP JAYSWAL and Prashant Acharya
NORTH DINAJPUR, SILIGURI
26 Sep 2018

Perhaps the district in West Bengal that was worst affected by the BJP-called bandh today was North Dinajpur, where incidents of arson and clashes between TMC and BJP supporters took place at various areas.
It was the death of two students in firing allegedly by the police at Darivit High School in Islampur in this district that propelled the BJP to call today's bandh.
While most of the offices and commercial establishments remained closed, schools and colleges also remained shut.
Nine state transport buses were damaged.
Police and rapid action force (RAF) personnel had to rush from one point to another to curb the unrest and deter the bandh supporters from paralyzing regular life.
Police and RAF had got into confrontations with BJP workers when they forcibly tried to close government offices and shops. As police resorted to baton-charge to disperse them on numerous occasions, the bandh-supporters started pelting stones and brick-batting too.
Police had a harrowing time  as state transport minister Suvendu Adhikari was in Islampur today to attend a public rally in Islampur. The meeting was however peaceful.
“We are sympathetic to the families of the students from Daribhit village who were recently killed. State government would identify and punish the culprits,” Adhikari said.
He claimed that the bandh was rejected by the people. “Out of frustration the bandh-supporters damaged nine buses. The miscreants would be identified through CCTV footage and punished accordingly,” the minister said.
Bus drivers were offered helmet by INTTUC workers so that they could save their heads in case of an attack on the bandh day.
However, the bandh supporters torched three buses in Islampur block alone. Two other buses under state transport corporation were ransacked in Islampur and three in Dalkhola. Another bus was damaged in Kaliaganj block.
Although the government employees and teachers of state government aided and sponsored schools, colleges and universities attended duties, turnout of students was grossly abysmal.
Almost all shops were closed. Private vehicles were rarely seen on roads. Even the battery-driven toto-rickshaws were not available.
District magistrate Arvind Meena said that attendance in offices, schools, colleges and university were near cent percent.
In Siliguri’s Ambika Nagar 11 motor bikes were damaged by the picketers.
Since morning picketers came on the road to make the strike success while police intercepted and more than 80 picketers were arrested.
In Bagdogra police arrested 24 BJP supporters. Atanu Sen, BJP’s Bagdogra branch president along with a few leaders were arrested at Bihar More when they were picketing. Shops were partially open and vehicles were seen plying on the road.
In Coochbehar three government buses and a private truck were damaged. In Toofanganj three government buses were damaged and in Mathabhanga three government buses were vandalised.
The situation in Siliguri was tensed since morning as BJP supporters came on road for rally. Huge police force including RAF was deployed to control the mob. BJP office in Foolbari-1 near Siliguri was damaged by unknown miscreants.  Tension prevailed in Ashighar area also.
Meanwhile the tea gardens in North Bengal were not affected as all the factories remained open.