In a tragic and infuriating incident borne out of the attempt to enforce the Bharat Bandh call over high prevailing fuel prices all over India, a 2-year-old has died in Bihar's Jehanabad, allegedly because protests prevented the parents from taking her to hospital in time.
However, while the girl's parents are insisting that their daughter died because the ambulance didn't reach the hospital on time, the officials are denying that the bandh had any role to play in the delay. SHO Jehanabad Paritosh Kumar, shockingly, blamed the family, claiming that they had left late from their home (something he has little chance of knowing about), and that the death wasn't related to the bandh or traffic jam. The parents, on the other hand, are clear that they left with enough time to have made had they not been blocked.
Addressing a news briefing on the Bharat Bandh, Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad raised the infant's death and asked:
"Everyone has a right to protest but what is happening today? Petrol pumps and buses being set ablaze, putting to risk lives. A child died after an ambulance was stuck in the protests in Bihar's Jehanabad. Who is responsible? Will the Congress party take responsibility for it?"
Other incidents of violence, intimidation and hooliganism have been reported from all corners of the country as citizens have been prevented from going about their day.
In Pune, in a set of shocking incidents, school buses allegedly came under attack by stone-pelters. Windows of school buses appeared to have taken damage and in some cases, the stones broke clean through landing inside.
One of the buses was attacked early in the morning as it was on its way to pick up children. Luckily, nobody was injured in the attack.
When Republic TV spoke to Harish Thadaney, president of Caelum School, he confirmed that the protestors bullied students and teachers. The school has been shut for the day, he said, adding, "this is no way to protest. Innocent lives are being threatened."
In Bengaluru, visuals have been accessed of an ambulance being stuck at Mysore circle in the city as protestors holding Congress flags prevented it from moving ahead. It was only after a 15-minute delay that it was allowed to move ahead.
Meanwhile, in Ujjain, visuals have been accessed of protestors vandalising a petrol pump -- an extremely irresponsible and dangerous thing to do. In Bihar too, visuals have been accessed of people's vehicles being damaged. And in Mumbai, Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam was detained for trying to enforce a rail roko at rush hour at the critical Andheri railway station.
While his party-members were participating in protests of the kind listed above, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, took the opportunity to politically attack the Modi government.