Opposition-called daylong strike paralyzes large parts of India

15:53, July 05, 2010      

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Large parts of India Monday got paralyzed by a daylong nationwide strike called by opposition political parties against the recent hike in fuel prices and the spiraling prices of essential commodities.

Many schools, colleges and offices were closed throughout the country while road, rail and air traffic services severely disrupted in various parts of India, including the national capital and financial metropolis Mumbai.

In the national capital, public transportation network was hit as hundreds of opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) supporters blocked various roads and stalled metro rail services, before being caned by the police.

Most of the schools remained shut while some government offices were open, though attendance was minimal.

"We have also arrested a number of BJP supporters, including senior leaders, for disrupting public transport services in scattered parts of the capital. Metro services were blocked at the Karol Bagh Metro Station. Around 100 BJP workers have also blocked the Rajiv Chowk Metro Station in Connaught Place," a senior police official said.

However, flight and railway services ran smoothly with heavy police deployment at the Indira Gandhi International Airport and the New Delhi Railway Station.

"All flights are on time," an airport official said.

Local TV channels reported that large parts of Mumbai wore a deserted look as hundreds of opposition BJP and fundamentalist Shiv Sena activists blocked road and rail traffic. Schools and colleges remained closed and domestic flights were also hit hard, with 42 arrivals and 47 departures being canceled.

Local trains have been running on time, but are largely empty. 52 buses have been damaged. Taxis and autos are not available for commuters, with over 40,000 police personnel deployed to avoid any untoward incident, according to the reports.

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