Violence, Vandalism, Arson Mark Bharat Bandh Called by Anti-NDA Parties

RJD leader Tejaswi Yadav taking part in Monday's Bharat Bandh in Patna.

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Patna: So much so for the Congress assurance that the Monday Bharat Bandh in Bihar would be peaceful and without any untoward incident because Monday was anything but peaceful as Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) activists went on a rampage vandalizing shops, vehicles, and even trains in the name of justice for the 'victims' of Narendra Modi's bad economic policies.

The day-long nationwide bandh called by the Congress Party and joined by nearly all anti-NDA parties including the RJD, Samajwadi Party (SP), Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM), allegedly uninvited Pappu Yadav's Jan Adhikar Party (JAP), over half a dozen shades of the Communist Party, and a number of leftist students' organizations saw widespread arson and vandalism that disrupted normal life of millions of people across the state. Congress, however, washed its hands from any violence saying it were other parties that indulged in such activities to give a bad name to the bandh.

Congress leader Premchand Mishra went on to say that it were JAP leader Pappu Yadav's goons who engaged in violent acts to malign today's protest. He further said that Pappu Yadav was not invited to today's protest and it was his own choice to ride on the coat-tails of the Congress-led bandh.

Mishra, however, failed to blame the RJD, its closest ally in Bihar, whose workers and supporters were seen setting up fire on roads and railway tracks in Patna. They were also captured in photographs throwing stones and burning objects on passenger trains outside Patna Junction and Rajendra Nagar Terminal.

The bandh was called to protest against economic policies of the Narendra Modi government at the Center leading to the rising cost of petroleum products, vegetables, essential food items, and cooking gas, among others.

Throughout the state capital dozens of cars, rickshaws, autos, and buses – both private and government – were vandalized by RJD and JAP workers. While on one side of the town RJD leader and former Deputy Chief Minister Tejaswi Yadav, surrounded by armed security guards, was leading the march against the NDA, Pappu Yadav was personally leading the mob at the railway terminal to disrupt railway traffic and destroy both government and private properties.

When asked about the violence perpetrated by his supporters and the supporters of Pappu Yadav, Tejaswi Yadav denied his party's role in today's vandalism and instead blamed Pappu Yadav for all the violence saying the MP from Madhepura was an agent of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) who tagged along with the bandh rally uninvited to tarnish the Congress and the RJD.

HAM leader and former Chief Minister of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi was also seen with his supporters marching in the protest rally with his handful of supporters.

According to an East Central Railway official, more than 20 trains were affected on Howrah-Delhi line.

Most shops and schools remained closed in Patna and those who dared to keep their shutters open were either beaten up and forced to close the door or were victims of vandalism and destruction of property.

At several places, protestors clashed with the police forcing the law enforcement officials to resort to lathi charge. Over 300 people were arrested in Patna district alone and more than 600 in other parts of the state, Bihar DGP K S Dwivedi said.

At Patna University campus, student bodies of the Congress and RJD were seen forcing colleges to be closed and those who showed any sign of resistance were dealt with both physical and verbal assault.


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