PATNA: The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) called for a bandh on December 21 in Bihar against the Citizenship Amendment Act.
“We have called a bandh in Bihar on December 21 against the CAA. The act is unconstitutional and against humanity. It has exposed the divisive character of BJP,” RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav told ANI here on Friday.
Protests have intensified in various parts of the country after the Parliament had passed the CAA last week. The Bill became an Act after getting presidential assent.
The CAA grants citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis, Buddhists and Christians fleeing religious persecution from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh and came to India on or before December 31, 2014.
Anti Citizenship Amendment Act protests saw disruption in rail and road transport, commercial activities and the functioning of educational institutions due to arson and vandalism during the Thursday shutdown by the left parties which was supported by the major opposition outfits in the state. Slogan shouting protesters demanded withdrawal of CAA and national register for citizens (NRC).
In many parts of the state, including the state capital, shops were forced to down shutters, vehicles vandalized, tires burnt on roads causing chaos and inconvenience to people.
Most of the leading schools in Patna remained shut and several bookshops and coaching institutes were forced to close.
CPI leader and former president of Jawaharlal Nehru University’s students union, Kanahiya Kumar accused the NDA government at the centre of implementing a “communal” agenda through “anti-national” laws like the CAA and NRC.
“This agitation is not for any political gains but to save the country. We need to see CAA in broader perspective and keeping NRC in mind. There is a move to trouble the people who are citizens of this country. What is the need of proving your citizenship rights on the basis of a paper?” Kanahiya asked while addressing agitators in Patna.
He alleged PM Modi was trying to divert attention from the economic slump by flaring communal passion.
“It is a pity that in this country elections are not fought on real issues affecting the country but by fanning passions on India and Pakistan,” said Kanhiya.
In Patna, activists belonging to pro-Left student bodies like the AISF (All India Students Federation) and the AISA (All India Students Association) stormed the Rajendra Nagar Terminal and squatted on the tracks disrupting movement of trains for about half an hour early in the morning before they were chased away by the RPF.
Fresh disturbance was witnessed at the station at around 10 am when hundreds of activists of Jan Adhikar Party (JAP), floated by controversial former MP Pappu Yadav, burnt tyres on the road adjacent to the Rajendra Nagar Terminal and some of them squatted on the tracks.
Miscreants also vandalized an ambulance in the Rajendra Nagar area.
In Bhojpur, shops and malls were hit with stones and vandals attacked police barricading. Around 50 activists were detained by the Nawada police in the district.
In Muzaffarpur, bandh supporters allegedly pelted stones on a ready-made garments shop when the owner refused to down shutters.
Traffic between Muzaffarpur and Samastipur was disrupted due to demonstrations.
In Jehanabad, a traditional stronghold of the ultra-Left movement in Bihar, CPI (ML) activists staged a roadblock on Kako More, disrupting traffic on NH 110 and 83.
Movement of trains was affected briefly in Darbhanga district when protestors squatted on the tracks near Laheriasarai station.
JAP supporters donning saris danced to Bhojpuri songs on the Mahatma Gandhi Setu close to the state capital.
Protests also led to disruptions in the rail and road traffic at Purnea, Araria, Katihar, Gaya, Aurangabad, Begusarai, Munger, Bhagalpur, Kaimur, Rohtas, Madhubani and other areas.
At least six FIRs were lodged including five in Patna alone against 35 named and 1000 unknown persons on the charges of road blockade, arson and damaged vehicles. CPI leader Kanhaiya Kumar, JAP leader Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and Bhim Sena President Ajay Paswan were among those named in the FIRs.
According to ADG headquarters, Jitendra Kumar, 695 persons were detained and nine were arrested for breaking the law during the protests.