bharat bandh protests
Loktantrik Janata Dal workers in Patna carry a motorbike on their shoulders to protest against fuel price hikeANI

Petrol and diesel prices have been setting a new record every day since the last sixteen days and to protest against the constant rise in fuel prices, the Congress has called a Bharat Bandh on Monday, September 10. The Congress is being supported by opposition parties like DMK, NCP, RJD and JD(S) while the party has also requested civil society groups and NGOs to support the nationwide protest.

The Congress has said that 21 parties will be joining them in the protest while the left has called for a separate bandh in West Bengal on Monday, September 10.

The opposition has accused the ruling BJP of extorting the common man by increasing the fuel prices and excise duties on them. The opposition is demanding an immediate reduction of central excise duty and excessive VAT in the states and to bring petrol and diesel under the ambit of the Goods and Services Tax.

Kickstarting the protest, Congress President Rahul Gandhi called for a pan India bandh from Rajghat in the Delhi. Gandhi and other opposition leaders also staged a protest march from Rajghat to Ramlila Maidan. 

Hitting out at the Modi government, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the ruling government has done a number of things that were not in the interest of the nation and the time to change this government will come soon. 

Members of the Jan Adhikar Party in Patna vandalised vehicles during the nationwide shutdown. They also blocked railway tracks in Patna's Rajendra Nagar Terminal railway station in support.

In Mumbai, members of the Congress staged 'Rail Roko' protest at the Andheri railway station as part of the nationwide agitation. The Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway has also been blocked. Metro services in Mumbai have been resumed after brief disruption. Following the 'Rail Roko' protest, Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan, Mumbai Congress president Sanjay Nirupam and senior leader Manikrao Thakare have been detained by Mumbai police. 

East Coast Railway Zone has cancelled 12 trains including Bhubaneswar-Howrah Jan Shatabdi Express and Bhubaneswar-Visakhapatnam Inter City Express in the view of the bandh. 

As violence was reported from several parts of the country including Patna, Pune and Bharuch, security has been beefed up in Jaipur also. "Precautionary measures have been taken. Police have been directed to take stringent actions against the protesters who will restore to violence during protests," police told ANI. 

The Vasundhara Raje-led Rajasthan government had on Sunday, September 9 announced a 4 percent reduction in VAT on petrol and diesel in Rajasthan. This will reduce their prices by Rs 2.5 per litre in the poll-bound state.

In Bangalore, the effect of the bandh is also being seen on a large scale. Congress leaders took to streets to protest in large numbers. Streets remain deserted in most of the cities in Karnataka as shops are closed and district administrations have declared holidays for educational institutions. 

(With inputs from ANI)