Kumar ajiv Nayan

Ara : Life came to a standstill in Bhojpur district on September 10, 2018, since morning due to the Bharat bandh called by the Congress led opposition against skyrocketing prices of petroleum products and LPG cylinders. The bandh evoked good response in Bhojpur district and most of the people preferred to remain indoor.

Thousands of bandh supporters under banners of AICC, RJD, HAM (Secular), All India Students Association (AISA), National Students Union of India (NSUI), Insaf Manch, SP, CPI (ML) and other political parties took out processions from different parts of Bhojpur district and forced the businessmen and the traders to down their shutters. Almost all business establishments, petrol pumps, cinema halls, schools, colleges remained closed till till the afternoon.

Though police were deployed at all the vantage including Badi Mathia, Shivganj, Pakari, Katira, New Policeline, Old Policeline, Mahavir Tola, Sheetal Tola, Gopali Chowk, Sheesh Mahal Chowk, Dharhara, Aranya Devi, Station Road, Bus Stand, the protestors ensured traffic crawled and crippled at Ara.. The train and bus services were badly hit during the bandh. Almost all the schools and business establishment near Jail road to Sheesh Mahal Chowk, considered the heart of Ara, remained closed. Attendance in government offices and courts was also thin and heavy vehicles were off the roads though light vehicles like motorcycles and three-wheelers were seen plying on some roads.

The bandh supporters converged on Ara railway station to register their protest by squatting on the tracks andĀ  boarding the rail engine. They stopped Ara-Sasaram passenger train and New Delhi-Bhagalpur Vikramshila Superfast Express at Ara railway station for about two hours raising slogans against the Central government. As a result, a number of long distance trains remained stranded at different railway stations.

The bandh supporters also blocked roads by putting hurdles, burning tyres and raising slogans against PM Narendra Modi and the central government at several places including Dhobighatawa, Badi Mathia, Shivganj, Civil Line, K G Road, Tribhuani Kothi tri-junction, Katira, Pakari, East Railway crossing, West railway crossing, Gopali Chowk, Sheesh Mahal Chowk, Shaheed Bhawan roundabout, Sheetal Tola, Mahadeva Road, Sapana Cinema Road, Dhararaha, Anaith, Ahirpurva, Karman Tola, D T Road, Abdul Bari bridge.

Hareram Singh, former Mukhia and resident of Chhotki Sasaram, had to travel to Ara by bus from his native village with his family members but he had to cancel his trip as buses and vehicles were being stopped by bandh supporters. Santosh Singh of Jagdishpur said, “I had to go to Sadar Hospital, Ara, for delivery of my wife but since there was huge traffic jam, I had to take her to a private clinic nearby.”

Neha Kumari of Udwantnagar said that she and her family members facedĀ  trouble due to the agitation on the roads. It took more than five hours to reach Ara from Udwantnagar, a journey that normally takes merely 20 minutes. She said that though police were present on roads, they preferred not to interfere.

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