Bharat Bandh: Two-day trade union strike turns violent in Noida, UP; 14 arrested

Noida protest
The nation-wide strike on the call of central trade unions turned violent in Noida as workers indulged in loot and damage of property at a hosiery complex and set ablaze several vehicles leading to the arrest of 14 of them.

Workers went on a rampage in Noida Phase 2 area and damaged industrial properties. The employees damaged several vehicles including a fire engine and police jeep this morning, ADG Law and Order Arun Kumar said here.

The government has directed the Meerut commissioner to get the matter probed by an additional commissioner level officer, he added.

Refuting allegations that the violence erupted after one person was lynched and police indulged in firing and lathi charge, the ADG said the strike which was primarily aimed at government sector also got to spread to the unorganised private sector in Noida.

"Only rubber bullets were fired to disperse the mob," he said.

Admitting that since all focus was on the government sector, Kumar said deployment of the force at the particular point in Noida where trouble erupted was less compared to other places.

Senior officials and additional enforcement from Bulandshahr and Ghaziabad have been sent to control the situation, he added.

The ADG said so far 14 people have been arrested in connection with the incidents in Noida and efforts were on to ascertain as to which trade union they are attached with.

"Some of the looted hosiery material has also been recovered," he said.

Cases are being lodged by individual factories which were at the receiving end of the trouble, the ADG said adding, action would also be taken under Damage to Public Property Act and notices would be served for realisation of financial damages.

Since the strike would continue tomorrow also, the ADG said every effort is being made to ensure that industrial activities in Noida are not hampered and such an incident is not allowed to recur.

PAC and RAF has been deployed in the area, the ADG said adding that there was no untoward incident elsewhere in the state.

Meanwhile, the strike call received good response in the state with employees of various government departments and banks holding protest meetings and marches in support of their demands.

With the roadways employees joining the stir, pilgrims at the ongoing Maha Kumbh mela faced a tough time .

Though the government had made alternative arrangements, they were not enough to clear the rush.

In Punjab and Haryana, the impact of the strike was felt on public transport services as a majority of state-owned buses plying on inter-state routes remained off the roads.

Services in public sector banks have been hit with both bank employees and officers taking part in the two-day strike in protest against banking reforms and outsourcing etc.

These trade unions have put forward a charter of ten demands before the government such as urgent steps to control price rise, strict enforcement of labour laws in all places of work, social security net for workers in the unorganised sector, end to disinvestment in PSUs and raising minimum wage to Rs 10,000 a month.

The two-day nationwide strike called by trade unions in support of their demands evoked a good response in Uttar Pradesh. Roadways buses remained off roads and bank branches were closed in support of the strike call, adversely affecting normal life since morning. Reports from different parts of the state said employees of various government departments and banks assembled at their respective offices and held protest meetings raising slogans in support of their demands.

The state government had made alternative arrangements like private buses, but these were not enough to clear the office rush and people had to depend either on private vehicles or autorickshaws to reach their destinations.

In the state capital, all major offices have remained shut with employees also taking out protest marches.

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