The BJP in West Bengal called a 12-hour bandh in the state on Wednesday to protest the killing of two students in a clash with police in North Dinajpur district. While the Trinamool Congress government vowed to take action against those trying to enforce bandh, a combative BJP warned of "repercussions" if the ruling party attempted to foil the stir.
The opposition BJP took out rallies in the city and the state on Tuesday in support of the 'Bangla bandh', while the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) countered it with processions denouncing it.
As it happened :
12:31 pm: Party workers are staging blockades at Chengail, Andul and Ramrajatala stations in the Howrah-Kharagpur section of South Eastern Railway, affecting suburban train services in the section, SER CPRO Sanjoy Ghosh said.
12:01 pm: Bandh supporters had squatted on the tracks at Barasat, Krishnagar and some stations in Sealdah division for 5-10 minutes in the morning, but the blockade has been lifted, an Eastern Railway spokesman said.
09:06 am: Siliguri: Police have arrested 24 bandh supporters from Bagdogra and Naxalbari areas. BJP has called for a 12-hour bandh in West Bengal today, in protest against the death of 2 students in a clash with police in North Dinajpur's Islampur
08:09 am: Train movement obstructed by protesters on Howrah-Bardhaman Main Line,Sealdah-Barasat Bongaon section of Eastern Railway Sealdah Division,Sealdah-Diamond Harbour Section,&Bandel Katwa section on Eastern Railways Howrah Division. BJP has called a statewide bandh today
08:00 am: Cooch Behar: Drivers of govt buses wear helmets while driving after some of the buses were vandalised by protesters today. BJP has called for a 12-hour bandh in West Bengal today in protest against the death of a student following a clash with police in North Dinajpur's Islampur.
Claiming the people of the state are fed up with the ‘misrule of TMC’, the BJP said the shutdown would be a complete success.
TMC secretary general and state education minister Partha Chatterjee charged the BJP with trying to foment trouble in the state and said all steps will be taken to ensure normal life is not affected.
"The police will take stern action if anyone tries to enforce the bandh," he said and accused the BJP of trying to instill a sense of fear among the people,” he said.
While some private schools in the state have declared a holiday on Wednesday, the education minister has asked the schools and colleges to remain open.
State-run buses will ply as usual, he said and urged commercial establishments, private offices and educational institutions to function normally tomorrow.
The state government has already issued a notification asking its employees to attend office on the bandh day.
There will be no holiday on the day before or after the Bangla Bandh. Even a half holiday will not be sanctioned on the day, it said.
Strict action would be initiated against those found trying to disrupt normal life Wednesday, said a senior Kolkata police official.
Extra police force would be deployed to foil BJP activists from stalling normal life in the state tomorrow, he said. Additional police officers would also be deployed on the national and state highways.
Anybody trying to stop people or public vehicles from plying normally will be arrested immediately. "A tight vigil will be initiated from tonight," a senior West Bengal Police officer said.
"Extra precautionary measures have been taken to counter the bandh. All sanctioned holidays have been cancelled as all senior police officers will be on the city roads tomorrow," he said.
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