Opposition shutdowns hit life in parts of Bengal

Monday, January 10, 2011

MIDNAPORE - Normal life was disrupted following shutdowns called by several opposition parties and a Maoist backed tribal outfit in West Bengal’s West and East Midnapore districts Monday to protest the Jan 7 carnage near Lalgarh.

The Congress called a 12-hour shutdown in the two districts against the deaths of seven villagers of Netai village in West Midnapore in violence allegedly triggered by assailants supported by the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

The Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) observed a 12-hour shutdown in Junglemahal - Maoist-affected forested areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts.

The state’s main opposition Trinamool Congress supported the shutdown calls.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called a separate 12-hour shutdown in West Midnapore on the same issue while the pro-Maoist People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) began a 72-hour shutdown from Monday dawn.

With so many political parties calling for shutdowns, life came to a halt in West Midnapore district and was partially hit in East Midnapore.

Except for a few stray incidents, no major violence was reported. At least 20 shutdown supporters were arrested in West Midnapore district.

Most vehicles stayed off the road in this headquarters of West Midnapore district. Nearly all commercial establishments remained closed, while educational institutions postponed their examinations. Government offices were open but recorded poor attendances.

Supporters of the BJP, SUCI(C) and the Congress led by their district leaders took out processions in various parts of the districts. Supporters of the SUCI(c) also surrounded the block development office in the Maoist hub of Lalgarh to enforce the shutdown.

“The shutdown was spontaneous and total as everybody irrespective of their political affiliations supported the call. Todays (Monday) shutdown will definitely send a message to the ruling Marxists that people in their socalled strongholds are now against them, said West Midnapore Congress president Swapan Dube.

The first day of the PCAPA’S 72-hour shutdown in Junglemahal evoked a good response.

The PCAPA called the shutdown to protesting the Lalgarh carnage and alleged that atrocities were committed on the common people by armed CPI-M cadres with the help of the joint forces deployed in Junglemahal since June 2009 to flush out the Maoist rebels.

Filed under: Politics

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