Bharat Bandh 2020: The nationwide strike call given by a total of 10 central trade unions have evoked a mixed response in most states of the country, except parts of West Bengal, Kerala and Telangana. Banking and roadways services were partially affected as members of trade unions joined the strike but most services have not been affected. Earlier, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi supported the Bharat Bandh 2020 call given by the trade unions. Rahul slammed the Modi-Shah government for "anti-people, anti-labour policies", which he says, have created "catastrophic unemployment and are weakening our PSUs to justify their sale to Modi's crony capitalist friends". Overall, around 25 crore people were expected to take part in the strike -- as per the union bodies' claims -- but the effect on the ground does not seem to resonate the same.
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1.18 PM: Protesters block a railway track in Amritsar during Bharat Bandh call by ten trade unions.
1.15 PM: Roadways employees affiliated with CITU participated in the 'Bharat bandh' in Rajasthan. "Of the total employees, there are nearly 3,000 employees affiliated with CITU in roadways who are participating in the Bharat bandh. The strike's impact is on buses' operations in Churu, Ganganagar, Sikar," says Kishan Singh Rathore, General Secretary of Rajasthan Roadways Workers' Union (CITU).
12.51 PM: Mining activities in Jharkhand affected due to the general strike on Wednesday, claimed trade union leaders, even as officials asserted that situation was normal in the sector. The strike, however, did not impact normal life in the state with public transport plying as usual and markets and other commercial establishments operating normally. -- PTI
12.40PM: Congress, left leaders taken into custody for participating in general strike in Andhra Pradesh: Leaders of the Congress, CPI and CPM were taken into custody as they staged a sit-in protest on the highway outside the RTC bus station in Vijayawada.
CPI state secretary K Ramakrishna condemned his arrest and that of CPM and Congress leaders in Vijayawada. "We have called for the bandh only to protest the anti- people policies of the BJP-led Central government but police are displaying overzealousness," he said.
12.35PM: Bharat Bandh impact on BJP-ruled Tripura: Banks and offices of financial institutions remained shut in most places on Wednesday. However, train services and vehicles operated as usual. Also, shops and markets remained open in most parts of the state. Police said no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state.
Several BJP-backed organisations were, however, out on the streets against the strike.
12.32PM: Protesters block railway blocks in Amritsar
12.29PM: Images of Bharat Bandh protests in Delhi.
12.26PM: Clash erupted allegedly between Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Students' Federation of India (SFI) workers in Burdwan.
#WATCH West Bengal: A clash erupted allegedly between Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Students' Federation of India (SFI) workers in Burdwan during the Bharat Bandh called by ten trade Unions against 'anti-worker policies of Central Government' pic.twitter.com/G9WFzmVUYQ— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
12.24PM: Trade union stike near total in Kerala: The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) did not operate city and long distance services. Very few private vehicles and autorickshaws were seen plying on roads. Shops and business establishments were also shut across the state despite the Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi, an organisation of traders, stating that they would remain open.
The Mahatma Gandhi, Kerala and Kannur universities have postponed various examinations scheduled for Wednesday.
12.00PM: Tepid impact of Bharat bandh in Karnataka: In Karnataka, there were seen no severe impact of the trade union strike. State's government buses, including Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) were plying as usual, train services remained unaffected.Schools, colleges and business establishments also functioned.
However, In Mangaluru, inter-state services of Kerala State Road Transport Corporation were suspended. Some miscreants pelted a Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation bus with stones in Madikeri town in Kodagu district this morning.
11.55AM: Punjab and haryana severly impacted due to 'Bharat bandh'
Representatives of trade unions and roadways unions held protests at several places, including Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Bathinda in Punjab and raised slogans against the government in support of their demands. There were reports that some factory workers were stopped from going to work by representatives of trade unions in Jalandhar. Public transport services at a few places, including Ludhiana in Punjab, were affected. In Haryana, though a faction of Haryana Roadways had announced to join the strike, public transport services were not affected much, barring a few places including Sirsa. Heavy police force was deployed at several bus depots in Haryana and Punjab to ensure smooth movement of buses, officials said. In Patiala, a student body held protest outside the Punjabi University against the Centre.
11.52AM: A bus vandalised in Cooch Behar during the Bharat Bandh.
11.45AM: Bharat bandh gets mixed response in Rajasthan: The nationwide strike call given by 10 central trade unions evoked a mixed response in Rajasthan.
Banking and roadways services were partially affected as members of trade unions joined the strike. A demonstration was held in front of the LIC Building in Jaipur. Rajasthan roadways employees affiliated with CITU also participated in the 'Bharat bandh'
11.18AM: Banking services impacted due to Bharat Bandh: Bank employees have extended support to the nationwide strike call given by 10 central trade unions, according to news agency PTI. "We have been opposing government policies on bank merger, privatisation, fee hike and other wage-related issues," AIBEA general Secretary C H Venkatachalam said.
All India Reserve Bank Employees Association (AIRBEA) and All India Reserve Bank Workers Federation (AIRBWF) and some insurance unions have also extended support to the strike.
11.11AM: Images of protest march against central government's 'anti-people' policies in Kerala
11.08 AM: Many private as well as government schools have been shut and universities have also postponed exams that were slated for today due to the nationwide January 8 strike called by trade unions and bank unions. The reason behind these strikes according to the trade unions is the 'anti-people' policies brought in by the Central government. Apart from the JEE Main 2020 exam, the university level exams have been postponed.
10.43 AM: Several Left leaders have been arrested in Andhra Pradesh. Protestors stopped state-owned buses and blocked roads across Vijayawada, Guntur, Ongole, Visakhapatnam, Kadapa and among other towns.
10.20 AM: Images of protest at Mount road in Chennai. Ten trade unions have called for Bharat Bandh today against 'anti-worker policies of central government'.
10.05 AM: Puducherry is seeing a complete shutdown in wake of Bharat Bandh; transport services have been majorly hit. Inter-state buses are not plying. Markets to also remain closed.
10.01 AM: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited employees protest against Govt decision of strategic disinvestment of Bharat Petroleum. The government has been planning to divest its 53 per cent stake in Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) at the earliest to bridge the fiscal deficit and meet the disinvestment target.
Mumbai: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited employees protest against Govt decision of strategic disinvestment of Bharat Petroleum pic.twitter.com/njOzme48KC— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
9.40 AM: Salute the protestors, says Rahul Gandhi
The Modi-Shah Govt’s anti people, anti labour policies have created catastrophic unemployment & are weakening our PSUs to justify their sale to Modi’s crony capitalist friends.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 8, 2020
Today, over 25 crore 🇮🇳workers have called for #BharatBandh2020 in protest.
I salute them.
9.34 AM: As part of the protest, the Congress workers have blocked a railway track at Bhubaneswar in Odisha.
9.20 AM: Protests have erupted in many parts of West Bengal. CITU members blocked a goods train near the Durgapur railway station.
9.10 AM: A North Bengal State Transport Corporation(NBSTC) bus driver wears a helmet in wake of protests during Bharat Bandh called by 10 trade unions against 'anti-worker policies of central government'.
Siliguri: A North Bengal State Transport Corporation(NBSTC) bus driver wears a helmet in wake of protests during #BharatBandh called by ten trade unions against 'anti-worker policies of Central Govt' #WestBengalpic.twitter.com/ZCbe7uRq4m— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
9.03 AM: Railway track blocked in Kanchrapara
Protesters also block railway track in Kanchrapara, North 24 Parganas. The CPI on Monday urged people to support the January 8 all-India strike. "We appeal to people to see through diversionary and divisive tactics of the government and make the proposed strike and bandh a success," CPI General Secretary D Raja said.
West Bengal: Protesters also block railway track in Kanchrapara,North 24 Parganas. Ten trade unions have called for #BharatBandh today against 'anti-worker policies of Central Govt' https://t.co/NkSTHTirXvpic.twitter.com/bbTf9Xydhh— ANI (@ANI) January 8, 2020
9.00 AM: Protesters block railway track in Howrah: Ten trade unions have called for Bharat Bandh today against "anti-worker policies" of the central government.
8.52 AM: What about UPTET and JEE Mains exams?
In case of UPTET 2019 and JEE Mains 2020, there is no official notice regarding postponing the exams as of now. The exams are expected to be conducted as per the schedule. It is also suggested that students do check for traffic snarls due to the Bharat Bandh. The UPTET exam was originally scheduled to be held on December 22, but it was postponed due to the protests against Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
8.47 AM: Are schools going to be close tomorrow?
No school holidays have been announced yet due to the bandh. However several exams could be affected due to the protest call given by the trade unions. The UPTET 2019, JEE Mains and ICAR NET exams are slated to take place today. According to the official notification by the Agricultural Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB), the ICAR NET 2019 will be conducted between January 8 and January 10 across the country. The examination scheduled today will be postponed only in case of "unforeseen circumstances". If the examination on January 8 is not conducted in case of any untoward law and order situation, then it would be conducted on January 11. However, the examination venue, slot and timing of the examination would remain unchanged.
8.42 AM: Are banks also participating in strike?
According to a statement by the Indian Banks' Association (IBA), six bank unions have decided to partake in the January 8, 2020 Bharat Bandh. Banking services such as ATMs and branch services are expected to be affected by this strike. Online transactions such as NEFT, IIMPS won't be affected. The bank workers are protesting against the merger of public sector banks.
8.37 AM: Govt warns employees over strike call
In an official notification, the DoPT also stated that any central government employee going on strike in any form will have to face the consequences that can not only include deduction of wages but also disciplinary action as per the guidelines.
8.35 AM: Will Central govt employees take part in Bharat Bandh?
The Central government employees will not be a part of this strike as the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has expressly prohibited the Central government employees from partaking in "any form of strike including mass casual leave, go slow, etc".
8.33 AM: Trade Unions partaking in Bharat Bandh 2020
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA), Labour Progressive Federation (LPF), United Trade Union Congress (UTUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC).
8.29 AM: What CITU says on Modi govt's policies
The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) says the government is failing to handle economic issues and is busy in privatising and selling PSUs (Public Sector Units). This pace of privatisation and selling of PSUs is detrimental to the national interest and national development.
8.15 AM: Why trade, bank unions have called for Bharat Bandh
According to the trade unions protesting against the government, these 'anti people' policies include the massive disinvestment of PSUs, privatisation of state-owned entities, the 100 per cent sale of Air India and some reform policies. According to the claims of the trade unions, approximately 25 crore people are set to participate in the January 8 nationwide strike.