A man stands in front of closed shops during a nationwide strike in Kolkata September 20, 2012
A man stands in front of closed shops during a nationwide strike in Kolkata September 20, 2012Reuters

In a shocking incident, Trinamool Congress Party (TMC) workers allegedly chopped off the ear of a panchayat employee in Murshidabad district, West Bengal, on Thursday for not reporting to work on the first day of the two-day bharat bandh called by central trade unions.

It is reported that the panchayat employee turned up for work on Thursday only to be confronted by TMC workers. His ear was chopped off while he was trying to save himself from the activists who were attacking him with a dagger.

The victim has been admitted to a hospital. Reports said that no case has been booked against the activists.

TMC chief and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had earlier warned traders of strict action if they take part in the two-day strike. She even said that compensation would be given for damages to property during the strike and increase police patrolling in the state to ensure all business establishments function normally.

The second day of the bandh has been peaceful if not for the shocking incident in West Bengal. Bank operations across the country felt the impact of the strike.

The bandh was called by 11 trade unions including the Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), and All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) to protest against price rise, and anti-people and anti-workers policies of the government.

Trade unions have raised a charter of demands that includes - to contain price rise, to ensure employment generation, strict enforcement of labour laws, universal social security for unorganized and organized workers, stoppage of disinvestment in Central and State Public Sector Undertakings, abolition of contract labour, removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund and assured pension for all.

The first day of the strike was marred by violence, including burning of office goers' cars and other vehicles, and the death of a protestor. A 55-year-old protestor succumbed to injuries after being knocked down by a bus while he tried to stop it. Several vehicles were set ablaze in Noida when protestors turned violent.

The nationwide bandh saw a mixed response, though some states like Tripura, Jharkhand, Bihar and Kerala were badly affected.