(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
June 22 , 2008
Bandh And Agitations Mark Protests Against Petro Price Hike
PROTESTING the hike in prices of LPG, petrol and diesel and demanding its reversal, on the calls given by the opposition parties, including the CPI(M) and CPI, the people in Andhra Pradesh observed bandh and harthal and conducted dharnas, protest demonstrations in different ways, raasta rokos and rail rokos on the 6th June. The police arrested hundreds of people and workers of political parties and resorted to lathicharge in Anantapur. All commercial and trade activities came to a standstill. Government offices, banks, etc. were closed. APSRTC buses did not ply. The police arrested leaders and workers of the CPI(M) and CPI in Hyderabad when they took out a rally from Narayanaguda to Musheerabad park and sat on the roads at different cross roads. CPI(M) MP P Madhu, MLC Ch Sitaramulu, Hyderabad city committee secretary P S N Murthy, state committee member B Chandrareddy, CPI state secretary K Narayana, MP Azeez Pasha, legislature party leader Chada Venkatareddy, CITU state general secretary R Sudhabhaskar, AITUC state general secretary PJ Chandrasekhara Raso, TNTUC state president Sateeshkumar were among the arrested. The police obstructed the rally of different trade unions started from Indira Park.
In Ranga Reddy district effigies of the prime minister and chief minister were burnt. In Medak district effigies of the central and state governments were burnt. At Patancheru, leaders of Telangana Rashtra Samitthi subjected the district collector to gherao. Barring stray incidents bandh was observed in Khammam, Warangal and Nalgonda districts peacefully. Rail roko was conducted at Bhongir and Miryaalguda in Nalgonda district. At Warangal, CPI(M) state secretariat member S Veeraiah participated in the demonstration pulling a ricksha. In Kurnool district central committee member of the CPI(M), M A Gafoor, participated in the bandh. When the CPI(M) workers stopped KK express at Kurnool for two hours, the police arrested about 200 workers. At Mahabubnagar railway station rail roko was conducted.
At Vijayawada TDP leaders and workers stopped Pinakini express for half an hour. In Guntur, under the leadership of the Left parties, rail roko was conducted. At Ongole three rails were stopped. In West Godavari district, rail roko was conducted by the leaders and workers of the CPI(M). Bandh was observed in East Godavari, Srikakulam and Vijayanagarm districts. At Srikakulam, leader of the Telugu Desam parliamentary party, K Yerrannaidu, pulled a ricksha. In Nizamabad, the BJP conducted railroko, while workers of the TDP and TRS expressed their protest by tonsuring their heads. Different parties conducted a procession of bullock carts and half-naked demonstrations. In Karimnagar, Adilabad and Cuddapah districts bandh was observed.
Participating in the bandh in Nellore district, B V Raghavulu, state secretary and polit bureau member of the CPI(M), warned the UPA government that if the prices of petro products were not reduced, a political decision would be taken. Addressing the people at Atmakur bus station, he criticised the central government for increasing petro prices ignoring various suggestions made by the Left parties to avert the same for the last four years. Pointing out that the announcement of the chief minister, Y S Rajasekhara Reddy, that the state government would bear subsidy of Rs 50 per cylinder of LPG was nothing but hoodwinking the people, Raghavulu made it clear that reduction of value added tax would bring down the price. He pointed out that it was not proper to impose burdens on the people, while ensuring profits to oil companies, especially in the private sector. District president of the TDP, S Chandramohan Reddy, CPI(M) district secretary T P Bhanuraju and CPI district secretary P Dasaradharamaiah participated. At Tirupathi, state secretariat member of the CPI(M), Y Venkateswara Rao, participated in the bandh.
The state committee of the CPI(M) thanked the people for making harthal a success on the call given by both the Communist parties. It condemned arrests of people in different distrcts during the harthal. The bandh observed on the call given by the CPI(M), CPI and other political parties demanding the government to withdraw the price hike was successful with participation of the people in it voluntarily, it said. The state committee said that thousands of workers participated in protest demonstrations, rail rokos and rasta rokos . Demanding the government to reduce the petro prices at least now, it warned that otherwise the agitation would be intensified further.