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National News Sourced Wired

Opposition-led shutdown over FDI in retail, diesel price hike brings nation to partial standstill

Patna/Mumbai/Kolkata/Jammu/Uttar Pradesh/New Delhi, Sep 20 (ANI): An opposition- led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) shutdown organised to protest against reforms, including introducing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in multi-brand retail, brought the nation to a partial standstill on Thursday.

Protests were reported against the UPA-II Government reforms from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Kolkata this morning.

Bharatiya Yuva Morcha activists blocked three trains at the Patna Railway Station and in Darbhanga earlier.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) supporters also took to the streets in Patna to vent their ire over the decisions taken by the government.

Left Parties said they would continue their fight to prevent introduction of Foreign Direct Investment in retail and against increased diesel prices, besides moves to encourage disinvestment in the public sector.

CPI-M activist Arun Kumar Mishra said in Patna: “The government took the decision on its own by passing an executive order, the parliament was not functioning. It is an insult of the democratic system that they took such an important decision without discussion in the parliament. Therefore, this government is anti-people.”

The shutdown has, however, not affected Maharashtra as much, due to the ongoing Ganesh Chaturthi festivities.

In Mumbai, markets and shops were closed, as traders and shopkeepers have come out in support of the opposition shutdown call.

“The strike is absolutely justified, as there is unemployment and people are facing the brunt of increasing inflation,” said Vinod Khandikar, a local.

Commuters in Kolkata are stranded because of the Left Front initiated shutdown.

“We are facing a lot of problems due to the strike, as I had to take longer route to reach office. I have been standing from so long and due to the strike, most of the routes are closed. So, I cannot commute right now,” said Arun Roy, a resident here.

Streets in Jammu and Kashmir’s Jammu city wore a deserted look with all market areas and shops closed. Police personnel have been deployed in an around markets to prevent any untoward incident.

“Today, we are protesting against the government’s decision of allowing FDI in the retail sector, hiking the price of diesel and its decision of providing six gas cylinders in year,” said Yudhvir Sethi, a protestor in Jammu.

“The supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance have taken to the streets in Jammu to protest the decision and the whole city will remain closed,” he added.

Meanwhile, in Uttar Pradesh, Samajwadi Party has announced its participation while BSP has stated that it would not participate in the bandh.

In Delhi’s Chandni Chowk area, shopkeepers and traders have downed their shutters. Movement of vehicles in the capital was also not at its peak during the early stages of the shutdown. (ANI)