‘Bharat Bandh’ passes off peacefully in Rajasthan

Jaipur, Sep 20 (IANS) Barring sporadic incidents of minor scuffles and violence, the Bharat Bandh called by various opposition parties and traders passed off peacefully in Rajasthan Thursday, police said.

The state saw a widespread response to the shutdown Thursday with traders’ associations extending support to it.
A traders’ association representative told IANS: “Jewellers as well as wholesalers and retailers kept their commercial establishments closed against the proposed foreign direct investment in the multi-brand retail sector.”
Suresh Agrawal, a representative of the Federation of Rajasthan Trade and Industry said the body has extended support to the shutdown.
In the state capital Jaipur, markets, schools, petrol pumps and other establishments were closed and city transport services remained off the roads since morning.
Most of the prominent private schools remained closed in the city. However, those which opened in the morning later declared a holiday owing to a low turnout of students.
Transport in the city transport came to a standstill as unions of private city bus operators and a section of the auto-rickshaw union supported the shutdown.
A huge crowd of traders, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers and various labour unions held a demonstration at the Bari Chopar market in the city around 10 a.m.
“We took a procession throughout the walled city and requested everyone to join the protest against the anti-people policies of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government,” said city BJP president Shailendra Bhargawa.
He added that about 150 groups of BJP workers were asked to take out rallies in their respective areas.
A group of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers clashed with the police when they were not allowed to enter Ramganj Bazaar in Jaipur’s walled city area. Besides, a huge crowd of demonstrators gathered at the Carrefour store in the city’s Vishwakarma Road area and took out a huge protest rally. It led to traffic congestion on the busy road.
The BJP’s national spokesman Prakash Javdekar participated in the protest in Jaipur.
He told media persons that the good response to the shutdown call showed the sentiments of the common people against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Police were put on high alert and about 3,000 policemen were deployed across Jaipur to maintain law and order.
The impact of the shutdown was also seen in Udaipur, Ajmer, Kota, Jodhpur, Bikaner and other major cities in the state.
In Udaipur, the workers of Left parties squatted on the railway tracks and stopped the Ajmer-Udaipur Express train Thurday morning.
Workers barged into the local municipality office in Udaipur and damaged property.
A demonstration at the Walmart store in Kota turned violent when police baton-charged BJP workers.
“About 200 BJP workers got involved in a verbal spat with senior police officers who were trying to disperse them. The police resorted to baton-charging when they tried to enter the store,” said a police officer.
The day-long shutdown was called to protest against the recent hike in diesel prices, a cap on the supply of subsidised cooking gas cylinders and allowing FDI in multi-brand retail sector by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.