Millions of Indians on Wednesday flooded the country’s streets in a general strike against the economic and social policies of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah.
“The attitude of the government is that of contempt towards labour,” said the Centre of Indian Trade Unions.
The strike, known in India as Bharat Bandh, was projected by organizers from 10 of the country’s trade unions to turn out around 250 million people, making the action the largest of its kind in Indian history.
“The Modi-Shah government’s anti people, anti labour policies have created catastrophic unemployment and are weakening our PSUs to justify their sale to Modi’s crony capitalist friends,” tweeted opposition politican Rahul Gandhi. “Today, over [250 million] Indian workers have called for Bharat Bandh 2020 in protest. I salute them.”
Major strikes are happening all across India today in response to the reactionary agenda of the BJP government https://t.co/BrIFjBfzQm— Eugene Puryear (@EugenePuryear) January 8, 2020
Photos from the strike show Indians across the world’s largest democracy demonstrating in the streets, shutting down transportation and industry across the country.
General strike in India today. In West Bengal the train cannot run because workers have put their bodies on the line. pic.twitter.com/FF7Q2oWyRK— Vijay Prashad (@vijayprashad) January 8, 2020
According to AFP, the strikes caused disruption around the country:
Protesters blocked roads and railway tracks, while those at rallies also chanted slogans against the government’s new nationality law that opponents say is anti-Muslim and has sparked widespread demonstrations.
In West Bengal state, strikers targeted railways and key highways and burned tyres on a main road in the state capital of Kolkata. Protesters carried red flags at rallies in the city.
“Modi government’s policies have led to a severe economic slowdown,” the All India Bank Employees’ Association general secretary C.H. Venkatachalam told Reuters.
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