New Delhi: Violence has been reported from several places in West Bengal as the two-day nationwide Bharat Bandh kicked in this morning. Ten Central Trade Unions (CTU) have called the strike alleging anti-worker policies of the Central government. Clashes were seen in Kolkata, Asansol and Hooghly districts in West Bengal. The police had to lathicharge as Trinamool Congress and CPM workers clashed in Asansol. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has said that her government is opposed to any bandh.
The nationwide general strike has disrupted normal life as transport, bank and other services have been affected in several cities. The bandh has been called by 10 trade unions across the country against what they believe are “anti-labour policies of Modi government”. Workers from the power, steel, auto, and financial services sector are all set to participate in the ‘historic event’.
Left party-led protests took place across West Bengal in places like Jadavpur and Sealdah. Railway tracks were filled with protestors, which affected incoming trains. In separate incidences buses were ransacked in Asansol in Burdwan District and North 24 Parganas’s Barasat. Meanwhile, CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty was detained the protests in Jadavpur.The 10 Central Trade Unions going on strike include Indian National Trade Union Congress, All India Trade Union Congress, Hind Mazdoor Sabha, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Trade Union Coordination Centre, Self Employed Women’s Association, All India United Trade Union Centre, All India Central Council of Trade Unions, Labour Progressive Federation, and United Trade Union Congress.
The government has failed to create jobs and grossly ignored unions’ 12-point charter of demands. The Group of Ministers headed by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on labour issues has not called unions for any discussion since September 2, 2015 strike. This has left us with no other option but to go on strike,” Kaur said.A number of trading organisations have rejected the call by the Central Trade Unions, saying they will keep their establishments open on January 8 and January 9. RSS’ affiliate Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) will not participate in the strike tomorrow.Officials in the Kerala Trade and Industries Coordination Forum have vowed not to participate in tomorrow’s strike.