Jamshedpur, April 24: Stray incidents of marred the 12-hour ‘Kolhan bandh’ called by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) to protest the state’s Domicile Policy and also in view of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Jamshedpur for participating in the National Panchayati Raj Day function at the JRD Tata Sports Complex on Sunday.
The bandh supporters resorted to arson and vandalism from Saturday midnight, posing hurdles for commuters on the state highways.
In a shocking incident the bandh supporters set a passenger bus on fire at Mosabani block office in Ghatshila sub-division at about 4.40 am. Though there were no casualties as the bus, but it spread panic in the area.
Similarly, the bandh supporters burnt a water tanker near Kudada on the Kudada-Potka road under Potka police station area in the morning. The water tanker belonging to a Potka-based sponge iron unit was set on fire while it was filling water from a water-body at Kudada village.
The agitating JMM supporters also stopped several trucks and punctured the tyres on Hata-Tata state highway leading to vehicular jam.
Apart from this those who were enforcing the bandh stopped about four passenger bus plying on Jamshedpur-Bhubaneswar route and assaulted the drivers as well as the conductors of the bus for allegedly defying the bandh call.
However, strict security arrangement in East Singhbhum district in view to the Prime Minister’s visit maintained pace in the city.
East Singhbhum senior SP, Anoop T Mathew who was on strict vigil led the police personnel to take about 70 bandh supporters into custody.
“Though the bandh supporters tried to take law in their hand but all of them were arrested,” said Mathew confirming the torching of two vehicles at Mosabani and Potka. He said over 80 bandh supporters were arrested from the district.
At Dhalbhumgarh in Ghatshila sub-division which also falls under East Singhbhum district, the JMM activists had resorted to ransacking the shops as the shop-keepers defy the bandh call.
Seraikela-Kharsawan district remained incident free where the police made preventive arrest, including that of JMM’s vice-president and Seraikela MLA, Champai Soren.
“We had ensured strict vigil and strong arrangements and our district were incident free and all the 500 panchayat delegates who were supposed to reach JRD Tata Sports Complex, the venue for the National Panchayati Raj Day function reached there by 11 am” said Seraikela-Kharsawan district superintendent of police, Indrajeet Mahatha.
JMM vice-president Champai Soren who is under house-arrest at his village in Hilingora claimed today’s call for Kolhan bandh in protest against the Raghubar Das-led NDA government’s resident policy was complete success.
He claimed out that about 40,000 JMM supporters across the Kolhan were supposed to stage a demonstration in the steel city today, but due to the heavy deployment of police force and setting up of over a dozen barricades, the people could not go inside the city.