New Delhi: Venting ire against the ruling establishment, the Bharat bandh called by Opposition, including NDA and left parties, in the wake of steep hike in petrol price announced few days back has held the nation hostage, disrupting normal life with blocking commutation and paralysing commercial activities across the country.

Reports of protest by BJP, SP, JD(U) are coming from New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Allahabad and other cities. 

NDA had declared 'All India Protest Day' on May 31and they have started strikes, picketing, demonstrations, rasta roko and rallies against the hike.

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PROTEST IN DELHI

The nationwide shutdown against the fuel price hike hit traffic in several parts of the city on Thursday with commuters facing a tough time getting to work with few autorickshaws and roads being blocked in some places.

With several autorickshaw unions joining the bandh, nearly 55,000 autos and 15,000 taxis are expected to stay off the road. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders threatened to block 100 intersections in the capital as part of the shutdown.

BJP workers blocked roads in east Delhi as part of the nationwide shutdown. There were reports of some roads being blocked in north Delhi as well. The Delhi Traffic Police was also sending text messages to people as part of its 'alerts'.

While many Delhiites are bearing the brunt of the bandh, many chose to depend on the Delhi Metro. Nearly 300 trader associations in the city will also keep markets shut to support the shutdown.

PROTEST IN MAHARASHTRA

The Opposition-sponsored shutdown started in Mumbai and the state peacefully, barring sporadic incidents of violence in Thane and Pune.

There were at least four incidents of government buses being stoned in Pune and Thane as the Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena, Left, Samajwadi Party and others called for a nation-wide shutdown to protest the recent hike in petrol prices.

Besides, the shutdown is being supported by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and even Mumbai's 'Dabbawallas' who will not provide their regular tiffin delivery services today.

However, Mumbai local trains are running as per the schedule.

PROTEST IN UTTAR PRADESH

Reports of train services being affected is coming from different cities. Samajwadi Party workers have halted three trains at Varanasi. Saket express train has been halted at Allahabad. Ganga-Gomti express train at Lucknow.

Burning effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Samajwadi Party workers are demanding rollback in prices of petrol.

PROTEST IN BIHAR

The shutdown called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Left parties in Bihar impacted life across the state with sporadic violence reported from some areas, police said.

Hundreds of workers of the ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) forced shops and commercial establishments to close down in the state. Protesters damaged a number of vehicles in state capital Patna, Gaya, Bhagalpur, Muzaffarpur and Darbhanga to enforce the shutdown, a police official said.

A group of ruling NDA activists also ransacked the Mairwa railway station in Siwan district. Protesters blocked railway tracks in Patna, Gaya, Darbhanga and Hajipur, disrupting train services. "The strikers have been forcibly stopping trains at various railway stations since morning," a railway official said.

(JPN/Agencies)