Clashes break out during workers' strike in India

New Delhi, Delhi, India Updated: Sep 02, 2016, 05:40 PM(IST)

Members of bank employees union shout slogans during an anti-government protest rally in Mumbai, organised as part of a nationwide strike. Photograph:( Reuters )

Violence broke out during the daylong workers' strike in India on Friday.

Hundreds of workers were detained as they clashed with police in several parts of the country.

Normal life remained paralysed in most parts of the country as banking services and public transport system came to a standstill. Hospitals, schools and some offices also remained shut in most parts of the country.

The mayor of Siliguri, a town in West Bengal, an eastern state in India, and 15 of his supporters were arrested for locking horns with the police. More than 20 protesters were arrested after they damaged two government buses in the state, senior police official Anuj Sharma told AFP.

Agitators and police also clashed in Srikakulam, a town in south India's Andhra Pradesh.

Train services were also disrupted as people squatted on railway tracks in Odisha, an eastern state in India. Commuters in southern Karnataka were stranded as transport services came to a standstill.

South India's Kerala remained badly affected. The impact of the industrial action was probably stronger because its chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had come out in support of the strike on Facebook.

Other parts of the country also faced the brunt of the strike. Delhi and Mumbai, however, remained largely unaffected by the nationwide industrial action.

Around 180 million workers across India went on strike today over unmet demands and the country's economic policies.

Some of the workers’ demands are: a monthly minimum wage of Rs 18,000 and a pension of Rs 3,000, universal social security for all workers and change in the government’s foreign direct investment policy.

The Indian government, meanwhile, has promised to look into the protesters’ demands. India's labour minister Bandaru Dattatreya had yesterday said the government had met seven of the 12 demands made by the striking workers.

The unions had rejected finance minister Arun Jaitley's announcement on Wednesday of increasing the daily minimum wage from the current $3.67 (?246) to $5.22 (?350) for unskilled workers.

(WION with inputs from AFP)

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