Train services were disrupted and normal life was affected in West Bengal’s Basirhat sub-division on Monday due to a 12-hour strike called by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protest against the killing of its party workers in Sandeshkhali. The BJP is also observing a ‘Black Day’ across the state.
Train services were disrupted in the Sealdah-Hasnabad division as BJP workers squatted on rail tracks at Bhyabla station in North 24 Parganas district and at South 24 Parganas’ Taldi railway station.
The markets largely remained shut. While state-owned buses plied, most private buses and autorickshaws were off the roads. In a bid to block the road at Nimcha, BJP supporters burnt tyres and stopped vehicles on the Basanti highway.
The saffron party workers also blocked traffic on Kalakar street in Kolkata to hold demonstrations.
“The law and order situation has been under control. The strike has affected life partially,” police said.
A severe clash broke out between Trinamool and BJP workers in Sandeshkhali’s Hatgachi area over the removal of saffron party flags on Saturday afternoon.
The police have so far confirmed deaths of three political workers — two from BJP and one from Trinamool Congress – in the incident, though the two parties claim at least seven deaths.
On Sunday, a saffron party delegation was stopped by the police from bringing the bodies of two of its slain workers from Sandeshkhali to Kolkata. The bodies were then sent back to Sandeshkhali for performing the last rites.
The clashes have led to a Centre-state conflict, with the Union Home Ministry rushing an advisory expressing “deep concern” over continuing violence and alleging a failure on the part of the law enforcement machinery of the state”.
In its reply, the Mamata Banerjee-led state government said that the law and order situation was “under control”, and “firm and appropriate actions” were initiated in case of a few “stray post-poll clashes”.