A nationwide strike called by Central Trade Unions continued on Wednesday after evoking mixed responses on the first day in multiple states including Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Kerala and Karnataka. Ten major unions have called for a two-day strike in protest of the centre’s alleged anti-people policies.
The members are demanding minimum wages, universal social security cover, stoppage of disinvestment in the public sector units, and enforcement of basic labour laws.
The strike was called by ten central trade unions- INTUC, AITUC, HMS, CITU, AIUTUC, AICCTU, UTUC, TUCC, LPF and SEWA. On the first day of protest, strike evoked a partial response in states such as Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Kerala, Odisha, Jharkhand, and Maharashtra.
Some incidents of violence were reported from parts of West Bengal. PTI reported that stones were pelted at a school bus in Champadali area of Barasat in North 24 Parganas district. The protesters also ransacked a government bus at Champadali. A bus was vandalised at Jamuria in Paschim Bardhaman district, West Bengal. Following the incidents, the state government directed the bus drivers to wear a helmet while driving.
The police also detained senior CPI(M) leader Sujan Chakraborty along with several other strike supporters at Jadavpur area in south Kolkata. Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government has opposed the strike call.
The state of Odisha was the worst hit as its rail and road traffic was disrupted by the strike. Trains services were hit at many places including, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Balasore, Jaleswar, Bhadrak, Sambalpur, Berhampur and Paradip. Several trains were delayed due to blockade of railway tracks leaving a large number of passengers stranded at many places.
Kerala too was impacted by the strike with trains and bus services were stopped at Thiruvananthapuram, Tripunithura, and Shoranur railway stations. Venad Express and Shatabdi and Raptisagar Express were stopped as protesters squatted on the railway tracks.