People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 28

July 11, 2010

July 5 Hartal : A Resounding  Success


The 12-hour dawn to dusk all India hartal held across the country on July 5, 2010 in protest against the increase in prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene oil and cooking gas was a resounding success. In various places, police resorted to severe lathicharge on the CPI(M) activists who were peacefully observing the all India hartal. On the bandh day, there was tremendous police repression in Sholapur, Maharashtra. Over five hundred police including state reserve police (SRP) surrounded the CPI(M) office and led a savage lathicharge in which over 50 people were severely injured and 12 had to be hospitalised. Three people had fractures on their limbs. Police cases were slapped on 18 activists. The entire CPI(M) Mahur taluka committee of Nanded district was arrested on the day of bandh.  


The following are the reports from the states we received as we go to press.




Spontaneity marked both the transport strike and the hartal in Bengal, held respectively on June 26 and July 5.  The protest actions were important and vitally so at a point in time and in circumstances when the common people are being increasingly burdened and have been compelled to find their backs to the wall. 


We do hold as Comrade Jyoti Basu had always underlined, a strike action is a weapon of choice to be utilised when the circumstances went antithetical with a spree, and when the scales are loaded against the very existence of the masses, and of the poor, and of the downtrodden, in particular.  The Patrika group and its cohorts in the bourgeois media, would expectedly lament the ‘loss’ called a strike. 


Biman Basu, CPI (M) state secretary and chairman of the Bengal Left Front noted the innate importance of the two strike actions for the people, because the actions went ahead to providing the masses with the much needed political boost-- and the hope that the ruling classes could be made to halt the burdens, mid-step in their authoritarian ways. 


The Bengal unit of the CPI (M) has also, and repeatedly, made it amply clear that the strike actions were in addition to the economic issues, a vital part of a continuing chain of intensifying movements and struggles against the anti-people acts of commission of the ruling classes, of their underlings in the corporate houses, and of their minders abroad.


The two strikes that saw the initiative of the people make the days stand out as good and great signals of popular protests were also executed against the attempts being made to unseat democracy, and to bring on anarchy in Bengal under the aegis of the Trinamul Congress, the ‘left’ ultras, and the forces of reaction and revisionism of every description, heralded by the corporate media houses which hail the attempts as a ‘necessary to fashion a change.’ 


The desperation of the ruling classes is clearly scene in Bengal in the fortnightly ‘literary’ magazine of the Patrika group, which would see fit to warn the Trinamul chieftain against falling into the ‘trap of socialism’ while mouthing her slogans—be very afraid of the Left, the publication pontificates editorially, for they are not dead and gone yet, is the grim message that comes clearly across.  It is the spontaneity of the popular participation, and the angst of the ruling classes, that make ample ground for the strike actions to have been, and shall always be, an effective weapon of class and mass struggle.     




The hartal was a total success in Kerala with the overall whole hearted support of the people from all corners of the society. It may also be noted that the hartal was a success despite the repeated intervention of the High Court of Kerala against public protests including hartals and way side public meetings.

In Kerala, the call for hartal was given by the Left Democratic Front. In fact it was the second hartal called by the LDF (the first hartal was called by LDF immediately after the announcement of the hike in petroleum products). Even though it was the second hartal in a span of ten days, the hartal was a grand success in Kerala with the support of people from all walks of life. Normal life came to a standstill during the 12 hour hartal.


Shops and business establishments remained closed, public transport came to a halt except the rail transport which was running without many commuters. Most of the government offices and branches of all banks including the private ones marked very poor attendance. Kerala State Road Transport Corporation buses kept off the road as the workers were on strike and the private bus service also came to a halt with the workers joining the strike. Common public also cooperated with the hartal by keeping their private cars off the road.


All the Left parties under the banner of LDF and under the leadership of CPI (M) held protest marches throughout the state and these protest marches were also attended by a large group of public from different walks of life. Leaders including state secretariat members addressed the protests. In Thiruvananthapuram, the protest march was inaugurated by M V Goninan, CPI (M) state secretariat member. Kochi, the business capital of Kerala was totally paralysed and the all the people including people working in the IT sector participated in the hartal. In Kochi, functioning of the major establishments including port trust, shipyard, container terminal and other private and public sector undertakings were seriously affected due to the hartal. All the educational institutions from kindergartens to professional colleges remained closed as there was very poor attendance of teachers and students.




The nationwide strike against the Congress led UPA-2 government’s anti-people decision of steeply hiking the prices of petroleum products and cooking gas was successfully observed in Tripura. A far flung state of the north east region like Tripura is all the more affected by the price rise because it requires lifting of every essential commodity from outside the state by road carriage.


As the people of the state observed a total and spontaneous dawn to dusk strike on this issue on June 28 at the call of the Left Front, July 5 nationwide strike was observed in the state as a protest day. Thousands of people rallied in different places of the state in protest. In every sub-divisional headquarter and important market places, roaring processions followed by bigger protest rallies were addressed by the state leaders of the CPI(M) and other  LF partners. About one lakh people have been mobilised throughout the state at 17 places. Bijan Dhar, CPI(M) state secretary addressed the more than ten thousand strong rally at Agartala. The Left Front convenor Khagen Das and state secretariat members Narayan Kar, Nirenjan Debbarma and Narayan Rupini addressed the rallies at Udaipur, Sonamura, Bishalgarh and Ambassa respectively. All the speakers strongly demanded a roll back of the price hike and called upon the people to be prepared for a far greater movement in the coming days.


There was a total shut down in Tamilnadu and Puducherry. All kinds of shops and trade centers remained closed. Truck and auto rickshaw transport was totally kept off the roads. Private buses also kept off. In many parts, schools were closed. Maximum number of state transport buses were not run, the government had run some buses with workers who are the supporters of the ruling party; but there were only few passengers in those buses.


Power loom industries in Coimbatore, Tirupur, Avinashi, Karur, Theni, Rajapalayam, and handloom industries in Madurai, Kancheepuram remained close. All small scale industries were shut. Lakhs of workers observed strike.


In Puducherry, shops remained close and private buses were off the roads. All private buses, inter-state services and auto rickshaws were off the roads. The flow of transport was less than normal in most parts of the city and suburbs.


In support of hartal, all over Tamilnadu, CPI(M) cadres staged rail picketing, road picketing in more than 200 centres including Chennai, Madurai, Coimbatore, Tiruchi, Tirunelveli, Nagercoil, Tiruvaarur, Nagapattinam and Dindigul. Nearly 10,000 cadres of CPI(M) and other Left parties were arrested. Thousands and thousands of cadres of CITU, AIKS, AIDWA, DYFI and SFI participated in these picketings.


In Chennai more than 2,000 cadres with red flags staged picketing at Central Railway junction. In many districts, like Dindigdul, Madurai, Theni and Cuddalore DMK goons unleashed violence against CPI(M) and CPI cadres. In Madurai and Dindigul, they torched CPI(M) offices. In many places of the state, they tried to terrorise the public with their goondaism.


In all places, the police played as the guards of the ruling party goons and attacked the CPI(M) and other opposition party cadres.



The bandh in Andhra Pradesh was near total with most of the shops and establishments closed down  since morning and the roads wearing a deserted look. Except for the Congress and its ally the Majli-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen party, all political parties in the state, including the Telangana Rashtra Samithi and Praja Rajyam Party, came out in support of the bandh call against the recent hike in petro prices. The nine Left parties in the state gave a joint call supporting the bandh while TDP also separately gave a call in favour of the bandh. Another Left party, the CPI(ML) New Democracy also independently supported the bandh.


Although the state government forced the state Road Transport Corporation to run its services, particularly in Hyderabad, the services were disrupted by supporters of the bandh across the state by holding siege at bus depots in Khammam, Warangal, Nalgonda, Ranga Reddy, Rajahmundry  and Kadapa districts. In Rajahmundry alone, the RTC  was forced to cancel 700 of its services.


Top leaders of political parties participated in the protest actions held as part of the bandh. CPI(M) Polit Bureau member and state secretary B V Raghavulu and CPI state secretary K Narayana along with leaders of other Left parties staged a dharna at RTC X Roads along with scores of protestors. They were arrested by the police and later released. TDP president Chandrababu Naidu courted arrest along with his party colleagues at Ameerpet in the city while BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu was also arrested elsewhere in the city.


All schools, colleges and universities in Hyderabad and most parts of the state remained closed. Banks and government offices had thin attendance while petrol bunks and cinema halls remained shut till evening. The examinations of Osmania University scheduled on July 5 have been postponed in view of the nationwide bandh.



The call of all India strike against steep hike in prices of petroleum products by Left parties, evoked massive response from all sections of the society in Bihar. Bandh was spontaneous and everybody participated by responding to the call.


In Patna, the buses, auto-rickshaws and all sorts of vehicles remained off the road. Even rickshaws were not plying on the road. The whole of the city wore a deserted look as markets remained completely closed. Event the tea shops in the bylanes were also closed. Offices, institutions, schools, colleges remained closed. Trains were stopped at various stations all across Bihar. Bandh was completely peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from any corner of Bihar.


Hundreds of activists of the Left parties took out a procession from Janashakti premises under the joint leadership of the four         Left parties. They converged at Dak-Bunglow square. Later on,  Vijay Kant Thakur, CPI(M) state secretary along with secretariat members Sarangdhar Paswan and Arun Kumar Mishra, general secretary of Bihar Pratiya Khetihar Mazdoor Union Bhola Prasad Diwaker, vice president Dinesh Kumar, DYFI state secretary Umesh Prasad and SFI president and general secretary, Dhirendra Kumar and Roshan Kumar Sinha were arrested.


Complete bandh has been reported from Supaul, Begusarai, Darbhanga, Khagaria, Samastipur, Madhubani, Bhagalpur, Nalanda, Rohtas, Jamui, Bhojpur, Gopalganj and East Champaran.


In Bhagalpur, Central Committee member Subodh Roy was arrested along with Party district leaders and cadres. Arrests have also been reported from Begusarai, Darbhanga, East Champaran, Madhubani, etc.



 Responding to the call, people resorted to a complete bandh in the entire state of Jharkhand. The bandh was spontaneous, peaceful and widespread both in urban and rural areas of the state. Rail, air and long distance and local road transportation was completely halted. Markets, educational institutions, commercial establishments including banks were closed.


Mining and production were seriously affected and transportation of minerals, including coal, was completely halted. Government, public and private sector offices were deserted at many places. Industrial areas of Jamshedpur at Adiyapur and Gamharia were completely closed. Gangmen of captive railway for coal transportation to NTPC, Farakka went on strike responding to the call of MGR Workers’ Union. Workers of stone quarries and of bidi industries were also on complete strike in Pakur and Sahebganj districts.


Left parties jointly organised processions throughout the state and picketed on national highways and railway tracks. The CPI(M) members and supporters picketed at Gumani and Tori on rail tracks; and on highways at Barhagora in East Singbhum district; Koderma; Nirsa, Dhanbad, Jharia, Sindri in Dhanbad district; Jamtara; Dumka; Mahagama, Buarijore, Thakurgangti, Meherma and Godda in Godda district; Borio and Mandro in Sahebganj district apart from joint picketing at other places including at Ranchi.


582 CPI(M) cadres and supporters were arrested at Ranchi, Saraikela, Dhanbad, Jamtara, Pakur, Godda and Deoghar districts. The functionaries of other Left and other opposition parties were also arrested in different parts of the state. They Include CPI(M)’s state secretary J S Majumdar, secretariat members Prakash Viplav, Prafulla Linda, G K Baksi, Surajeet Sinha, state committee members Sufal Mahto, Sukhnath Lohra, G K Shukla, Dasrath Mandal; CPI’s state secretary Bhubaneshwar Prasad Mehta, assistant secretary K D Singh, P K Ganguly and others and RSP’s state secretary Radhakant Jha.



Bandh was a success in Himachal Pradesh. Over one lakh people participated during the protest demonstrations  held throughout the state. At several places roads were blocked and traffic was brought to a standstill. The shops remained completely closed throughout the state in protest against the spiraling fuel prices. The schools were closed . There was a complete strike  in the hydel projects in Kullu, Rampur and Kinnaur region. The hotels and restaurants were completely closed in Shimla town . Though the essential items like milk etc was kept out of strike, but no supply of milk took place in several parts of the state.  The CPI(M) activists organised very effective protest demonstrations at Bhawanagar in Kinnaur , at Rampur, Theog, Rohru, Manali, Sainj , Banjar, Patlikuhl and Kullu in Kullu district, at Ner Chowk, Sundernagar, JogenderNagar, Sarkaghat, Jhanjheli, Karsog and Balichowki in Mandi district, at Una, Bilaspur, Chamba and Bharmour in Chamba district, at Dharamshall, Darlaghat and Solan in Solan district, at nahan, Renuka in Sirmour distirct and in Hamirpur.  At all these places, traffic was blocked for several hours in the state.


The Shimla town came to a standstill since morning. All major roads to and from Shimla were blocked. The Shimla-Chandigarh , Shimla-Rampur and Shimla-Mandi routes were blocked since early morning. The roads within Shimla town were also closed. There was a complete strike in the construction sector. The CPI(M) activists assembled at the Victory tunnel and blocked the traffic. Even the Kalka- Shimla train was stopped at Summerhill station by the CPI(M) activists.


 (Tikender Singh Panwar)




Hundreds of CPI(M) activists, workers and sympathisers at the call of the hartal given by Left parties and opposition parties against the hike in the prices of petroleum products and essential commodities including cooking gas and kerosene oil assembled at press club, Jammu to participate in the all India programme.


The CPI(M) leaders led by Sham Prasad Kesar, regional secretary, addressed the gathering. Later a rally was organised, which after passing through the main chowks of the city, Jewal Chowk, Raghunath Bazar Chowk, Shalimar Chowk and Shaheedi Chowk culminated in a meeting at City Chowk  which was addressed by Om Parkash, general secretary CITU, kisan leader Kishore Kumar and trade union leaders Nirdosh Uppal and Romesh Chand.




The call for Bharat bandh was a huge success in Punjab and Chandigarh. The call was supported by Lok Bhalai Party and Shiromani Akali Dal (Longowal) and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP).  All the markets were completely closed and there was no traffic on the roads. The government offices remained closed. Rallies, demonstrations, burning of effigies of the central government, road blocks and rail rook actions were held at various places in the state. The bandh got an enthusiastic response from the common man.


The CPI(M) and CPI together held demonstrations at Sangrur, Ludhiana, Patiala, Amritsar, Hoshiarpur, Jalandhar, Bhawanigarh, Mukerian, Garhdiwala, Mahilpur, Garhshankar, Malerkotla, Dhuri, Barnala, Longowal, Sunam, Chheharta, Fatehabad(Khadur Sahib), Bhikhiwind, Baba Bakala, Jhabal, Tarn Taran, Patti, Jamsher, Nakodar, Shahkot, Nurmahal, Balachaur, Banga, Nawan Shahar, Ajouli(Anandpur Sahib), Ropar, Banurh, Rajpura, Amloh, Samana, Patran, Lalru, Jalalabad, Ferozpur, Bathinda, Mansa, Budhlada, Sardulgarh, Mukatsar, Malout, Fridkot, Kotkapura, Jagraon, Raikot, Samrala, Batala, Pathankot Gurdaspur, Moga, Dharmkot, Nihalsinghwala and Chandigarh.


Among the leaders who addressed the demonstrations at various places were Charan Singh Virdi, state secretary of CPI(M), Joginder Dayal, central executive member of CPI, Bhupinder Sambher, state secretary of CPI, Lehamber Singh Tagger, Raghunath Singh, Rachhpal Singh, Vijay Misra, Gurmesh Singh, Gurmit Singh Dhada, Bant Singh Namol and Bhup Chand Channo, state secretariat members of CPI(M), Bant Singh Brar, Hardev Arshi, Jagrup Singh, Gurnam Kanwar, Harbhajan Singh, state secretariat members of CPI.



(Asha Nand)



Hartal in Orissa was a total success. Observing the call of CPI(M), CPI, Forward Block, Biju Janata Dal, JMM, RJD and Samajwadi party against rise in prices of petro-products and removing government control from petrol and in phases from diesel, normal life in Orissa was totally paralysed. It was a spontaneous response of the people against the hike. No trains could operate. Bus and trucks were off the road. Bank, insurance, state and central government offices were either totally closed or had a deserted look. Shops and commercial establishments were totally closed. Mine work were totally paralysed. About 1500 leaders and activists were arrested at Bhubaneswar, Cuttak, Sundargarh, Jajpur and in other places. Those arrested include CPI(M) state secretariat members Santosh Das, Dusmanta Das, Bishnu Mohanty, state committee members Suresh Panigrahi, state agricultural labour union general secretary Nityananda Parida, SFI president Sudam Das and secretary Sarat Das etc.



The Karnataka bandh which was called by the Left parties, JD(S), other secular parties and organisations, dalit organisations etc. and joined by the BJP was a complete success in the entire state.  In most of the places, people themselves had downed the shutters.


In Bangalore, the vehicular traffic was very minimal.  Picketing was done at 23 centres. Vigilance squads were on the move from  5 am onwards. 


In Dakshina Kannada, the bandh was successful in all taluks of  Dakshina Kannada and Udipi districts. Uttara Kannada (Karwar), Belgaum, Hubli-Dharwad, Gadag, Bijapur, Raichur, Gulbarga, Bidar, Bellary, Davanagere, Haveri, in fact every district had reports of a successful bandh. 


In Mandya and Kolar districts, bandh was a total success.  Shop keepers have joined the bandh spontaneously, just as hamalis, autorickshaw drivers etc.   In Srinivasapura taluk, a shop owner probably belonging to Congress party attacked our district secretariat member P R Suryanarayana. His wife Eeswaramma who is an anganwadi leader was also injured.


In Bellary, the BJP attacked two of our jeeps as they were going about the town flying our flags.  The Congress party activists attacked our activists at Bagepalli.  Chickaballapur district reported complete bandh including the panchayat headquarters.


In Mysore bandh was total.  The CPI(M), CPI, JDS and Kannada activists participated in the bandh.


Hassana , Shimoga,  Davangere, Chitradurga, Gadag, Haveri,  Tumkur and Kodagu reported successful observance of the bandh call.

(V J K Nair)



The bandh call received spontaneous response in Gujarat. Rasta rokos were held in all major cities of Gujarat including Ahmedabad, Bhavnagar, Baroda, Rajkot, Surat, Junagadh and Himmatnagar by CPI(M) and CPI. Around one thousand people were arrested at various places.


All most all schools, colleges, courts including labour courts remained closed. Even in small cities, shops were closed including  petrol pumps and transport services. Diamond workers also observed bandh. All the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporations (GIDCs) and major industrial areas remain closed.



In Ahmedabad, more than 200 workers participated and police arrested 21 CPI(M) workers. The Gujarat Mazdoor Panchayat held a rasta roko program here. In Baroda, CPI(M) and CPI jointly held a rally from Mandevi Chowk and blocked road at the Collector office. More than 700 people participated in this programme. In Bhavnagar, more than a thousand people held a rasta roko at  Bhagat Singh chowk in which 827 workers were arrested. At Junagadh, police arrested 56 workers. At Rajkot, more than 200 workers held a rasta roko for two hours at Trikon bagh in which 51 workers were arrested.


In Himmatnagar, more than 150 Party workers courted arrest.  



THE all-India strike, called for by the opposition parties against the fast rising prices and the hikes effected by the Manmohan Singh government in the prices of petroleum products, had had a widespread impact in Haryana. On July 5, CPI(M) workers in all the districts were out in the streets much before the markets and offices opened up, to implement the call. 


In Hissar, led by Inderjit Singh and others, CPI(M) workers took out a procession through the city thoroughfares, shouting slogans against the Manmohan Singh government for having raised the petroleum prices. All the markets remained closed here. The Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) was also active here.


At Fatehabad, CPI(M) workers staged protest actions throughout the city despite heavy rains. Markets and other established remained closed here for the whole day.


The same was the scene in Bhiwani. Here the CPI(M) workers staged a powerful demonstration and completely blocked the road in front of the party office.


In Rohtak, party workers collected at the Bhiwani Road and, along with the workers of other parties, took out a procession through the city, appealing for observance of the bandh call. INLD workers participated in the action in a large number.


A joint procession came out in Sonipat as well, where the markets remained completely closed.


The bandh call had a partial effect in Jind, but Narwana, Sirsa and Panipat observed complete bandh on the day.


There was complete hartal in Kurukshetra and Narayangarh. At Kurukshetra, the Sarva Karmachari Sangh took out a procession through the city in protest against the excruciating price rises.


At Gurgaon, CPI(M) workers collected at the Pataudi Chowk and took out a protest procession through the city.


At Faridabad, the call of the hartal had had a big impact. The National Highway was completely blocked in Old Faridabad and trains were stopped at the railway station for hours together. CPI(M) and INLD workers took out a procession through the city.


Yamunanagar, Karnal and Narnaul also witnessed complete bandh and protest demonstrations on the day.

Women participated in good numbers in all these actions throughout the state.   



At the call of Left parties and other secular democratic parties to organise Bharat bandh on July 5, activists of the CPI (M), CPI, RSP, AIFB, JD(S), and SP  organised processions, road blocks and effigy burning at several places in Delhi, Ghaziabad and Noida. At ITO, over a thousand CPI (M), CPI, RSP, AIFB, JD(S), and SP activists blocked the traffic for about two and a half hours. Several hundred activists led by CPI(M)  Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat, CPI general secretary A B Bardhan and others were arrested by the police. Later they were released. In Mangolpuri, several hundred CPI (M) activists organised a procession and stopped the Guwahati Express for about half an hour. They later blocked the outer ring road at the Mangolpuri flyover and Peera Garhi Chowk for over 30 minutes. In Dwarka, Several hundred Party workers and sympathisers organised a procession that was followed by blocking traffic on the Dwarka-Dabri main road for one hour 30 minutes. Traffic was blocked at Azadpur, Narela, Bawana, East Delhi and Ghaziabad. At Dilshad Garden, GT Road five activists were arrested and later released while blocking the traffic. In Loni, over 700 workers of CPI(M) alongwith SP activists stopped traffic at Baghpat Road for one and a half hour and burnt the effigy of the prime minister. They were lathi charged and arrested and later released. In Okhla, processions were organised in Jamia nagar area.



The CPI(M) with other Left parties in Manipur jointly observed  a general strike in Manipur on July 5. Hundreds of volunteers of the Left parties organised picketing in many places of Imphal and other towns of the state. Vehicular traffic was very less, no inter-state buses and trucks were plying on the national highways, shops and establishments and vending activities were closed as the employees and workers’ unions supported the strike. The attendance in the offices of banks, LIC, postal and telegraph, VSNL and Accountant General was thin as the unions in the respective offices already announced their support to the call of the Left parties. Many street corner meetings were organised in and around Imphal city. The meetings were addressed by Kshetrimayum Santa, state secretariat member of CPI(M), Langol Iboyaima, state secretary of CPI and L Sotin, assistant secretary of CPI among others. The public places in Imphal wore a deserted look as a number of passenger vehicles on the roads were less than on the normal days. The motor vehicle workers’ unions in Manipur were the main partners of the strike. Construction in major sites was stopped due to the strike. The state police arrested nine leaders when they were carrying red flags on the main markets in Imphal but released later. The national general strike in the state was partially successful.

(Kshetrimayum Santa)