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Many shops closed, public transport hit in BJP’s 12-hour North Bengal bandh

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Kolkata: Many private buses kept off the roads and shops and markets remained shut in several areas in response to a 12-hour bandh called by the BJP in districts of Northern West Bengal on Friday.

The BJP has called the shutdown in the eight districts in the northern part of the state in protest against what they called “torture” on the tribals and the death of a party activist in alleged police firing.

The bandh that started from 6 AM saw BJP workers hitting the streets at important intersections and stopping vehicles. They also brought out processions in support of the shutdown.

In Cooch Behar district, though government-run buses plied, private buses kept off the roads in the morning hours.

In Jalpaiguri district, most shops remained closed. At Kadamtala, bandh supporters forcibly stopped state-run buses.

Reports of disruptions have also been received from the other districts in the region.

The north Bengal region comprises Cooch Behar, Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur and Malda districts.

On Thursday, while announcing the shutdown, state BJP president Sukanta Majumdar accused the Mamata Banerjee led Trinamool Congress Government of letting loose an atmosphere of terror and misrule.

The immediate trigger for the shutdown is the death of a BJP worker Mrityunjay Burman in Radhikapur near Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur district. BJP has alleged that Mrityunjay died in police firing on Wednesday night.

It may be mentioned that Kaliaganj in North Dinajpur district has been on the boil following the alleged criminal assault and subsequent murder of a teenager, whose body was found in a canal last week. Footage of the girl’s corpse being dragged by the police on the road has gone viral on social media.

On Tuesday, a tribal agitation in protest against the unsavoury incident turned violent and the Kaliaganj police station was torched and several vehicles were set on fire and some policemen sustained injuries.

The agitators fought a pitched battle with the police and the situation came to such a pass that the cops had to lob tear gas shells to pacify the mob.

Prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code have already been promulgated and internet services put on hold till April 30 in four wards of Kaliaganj municipal area to prevent any further breach of peace.

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