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Bharat Bandh call evokes partial response in Northeast

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Bharat Bandh call evokes partial response in NortheastGuwahati/Agartala, Dec 8 (IANS): The ‘Bharat Bandh’ called on Tuesday by the farmer unions over the contentious farm laws enacted by the Central government, evoked partial response in the northeastern states.

Banking operations across the northeastern region were partially hit as a section of bank employees joined the countrywide shutdown while another section joined their duties.

According to the officials, train and flight services in most northeastern states remained unaffected by the nationwide strike.

An official of the Northeast Frontier Railways (NFR) said in Guwahati the train services were unaffected in its jurisdictions though some picketers in a few places tried to halt the plying of passenger trains, but the security forces dispersed them.

The NFR operates fully and partially in six of the eight northeastern states, excluding Meghalaya and Sikkim, and in seven districts of West Bengal and five districts of north Bihar.

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In Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Assam, markets, shops and business establishments were open in some places and closed in many parts, especially in the semi-urban and rural areas.

There were very few passenger vehicles on the roads. But many government offices functioned almost normally and schools and other educational institutions also remained open, though with very less attendance.

Trade union leader Biswajit Ghatak told the media in Guwahati that the ‘Bharat Bandh’ is total and spontaneous in most parts of Assam.

“In the morning, some shops and markets were opened, but as the day progressed, the business establishments closed in support of the strike,” Ghatak claimed.

In another BJP ruled state Tripura, shops and markets were closed in some places, but were open in some sub-divisions, including capital city Agartala with fewer shoppers.

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The number of private and passenger vehicles was less in operation.

All India Kisan Sabha leader and former parliamentarian Narayan Kar claimed that the ‘Bharat Bandh’ evoked a massive response everywhere as the shops and markets were closed and most passenger and private vehicles went off the roads.

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BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacherjee said the people outright rejected the shutdown everywhere.

The nationwide shutdown evoked very little response in other northeastern states, including Meghalaya and the BJP-ruled Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh.

Different parties, including the Congress and Left parties have extended their support to the farmers, who are agitating for repealing the new farm laws.

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