Congress Bengal shutdown evokes partial response

Kolkata: Government and commercial establishments were functioning normally in most parts of the West Bengal as a Congress sponsored 12 hour shutdown on Tuesday against the 'anarchy and lawlessness' in the state evoked partial response.

While the shutdown was largely effective in Congress strongholds of Murshidabad and Malda districts, it evoked little response in others parts of the state including the state capital Kolkata.

Train movement particularly the suburban train services on the Sealdah section was disrupted with Congress activists resorting to demonstrations on the tracks.

"Train services were temporarily disrupted on the Sealdah section due to demonstrations. But now the services are running normal. No such disruptions, so far has been reported on the Howrah route," an Eastern Railway spokesperson said.

In the city, public transport system including the buses and the metro train services operated normally.

Many Congress activists have been arrested across the state for attempting to forcibly enforce the shutdown called by the party against the "growing anarchy and lawlessness", including the lynching of a college student in Sabang of West Midnapore district.

There were also reports of vandalism in some parts of the state by the shutdown enforcers.

While a bus was attacked and its wind shields broken in Howrah, the block development officer in Sabang alleged Congress activists ransacked his office and assaulted him.

In Murshidabad and Malda, educational institutions and commercial establishments remained shut although government offices were open.

While the Congress termed the shutdown successful, the ruling Trinamool has ridiculed it, dubbing the call 'completely ineffective'.

State Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury accused the administration of resorting to violence to foil the shutdown after his party supporters were baton charged by the police in Baharampur of Murshidabad disyrict for allegedly preventing employees from entering the land revenue office.

"The police have not even spared women and are raining batons on us for participating in a democratic protest. If this government thinks it can deter us with violence then we are ready even to receive bullets," said Chowdhury.

Congress legislator and former state minister Manas Bhuniya claimed the shutdown was successful.

"People have wholeheartedly supported the shutdown, markets are closed, schools and colleges are closed and the attendance in government offices is negligible. The government is forcibly operating buses and trains but they are deserted," said Bhuniya.

But Trinamool leader and state Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee dubbed the shutdown as "completely ineffective".

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