Tepid response to Bharat Bandh in Mumbai

Tepid response to bandh in Mumbai

Shops on Mohammed Ali Road remained closed in solidarity with the strike on Wednesday. (Express photo: Nirmal Harindran)

THE BHARAT Bandh called by central trade unions to protest against the “anti-people” policies of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre received a tepid response, with Mumbai witnessing no major disruptions in transport or essential services. Some shops and establishments on Mohammed Ali Road, however, downed shutters in solidarity with the bandh.

Last September, a declaration was adopted by several trade unions, along with independent federations and associations, to go on a nationwide strike on January 8, 2020.

Suburban trains, public buses, taxis and autorickshaws operated normally. The transport system remained unaffected, with various unions carrying out solidarity marches to support the strike, but without affecting work. Most colleges and schools stayed open, with some college professors sporting black bands in solidarity with the strike.

On Wednesday, a substantial crowd gathered at the Azad Maidan to support the strike. Dr Ashok Dhawale, president of All India Kisan Sabha, said protest rallies were taken out in Bhandup, Andheri and suburban parts of city. “This bandh shows the anger against the economic policies of the Modi government, which has resulted in highest rate of unemployment and farmer suicides. Economic recession has led to the shut down of multiple factories,” he added.

A rally was taken out by Central Railway workers affiliated with the National Railway Mazdoor Union (NRMU). The NRMU general secratary, Venu Nair, said: “The government is systematically working to destroy the workers and move towards privatisation. It is not only a fight by workers but also commuters at large, who would be badly affected.”

The Western Railway Mazdoor Sangh, meanwhile, held a meeting with its members at the Parel workshop to oppose the move to privatise the workshop and commercial exploitation of railway land.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) V K Choubey said, “Adequate deployment was made across the city and no law and order problem was reported from anywhere.” Due to increased police deployment, many undertrials could not brought to city courts. In Mumbai city civil and sessions court, some hearings were held with accused produced before the court through a video-conferencing facility.