Police in Andhra Pradesh arrested leaders of the Left parties and trade unions as they tried to stop state-owned buses and staged a road blockade on Wednesday as part of the nation-wide shutdown. Protesters were arrested in Vijayawada, Guntur, Ongole, Visakhapatnam, Kadapa and other towns when they tried to stop buses of road Transport Corporation (RTC) from coming out of the depots.
Holding their respective party flags, leaders of Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), other Left parties and trade unions, who have called for the strike, squatted on the roads, raising slogans against the 'anti-people' and 'anti-worker' policies of Narendra Modi government.
The protesters, including activists of Muslim and other minority groups, also demanded revocation of Citizenship (Amendment) Act. They raised slogans against the National Population Register (NPR) and National Register of Citizens (NRC).
At Visakhapatnam Steel Plant (VSP), striking employees along with leaders of trade unions and leaders of the Left parties staged a protest demonstration. Trade unions claimed that 30,000 employees of the steel plant are taking part in 'Bharat bandh'.
The protesters raised slogans of 'POSCO go back'. They demanded that the government drop plans to privatise VSP in the guise of joint venture with the South Korean steel-maker POSCO.
The leaders and activists of the Left parties tried to disrupt RTC services in Vijayawada, Guntur and Ongole.
The Left parties and Congress staged a road blockade on Vijayawada-Hyderabad national highway. CPI state secretary K. Ramakrishna was among those arrested by the police. Ramakrishna condemned the arrests of peaceful protesters.
He alleged that the Narendra Modi government is adopting anti-people policies. "We are demanding the government to protect public sector undertakings and safeguard the interests of employees and workers," he said.
The CPI leader said the government should rollback CAA and drop its plans to conduct NPR and NRC.