Normal life was paralysed yesterday by the 24-hour Congress sponsored state-wide Bangla bandh which was, by and large, peaceful till noon, save an incident of police firing and stray incidents, leaving an assistant sub inspector of police injured.
The police fired two rounds to ward off an attack by bandh supports before the Birla Jute Mill at Birlapur in South 24 Parganas district in the morning.
The incident occurred as police intervened when bandh supporters attacked a truck before the mill gate with bombs and other missiles. The ASI, Sadhin Guha sustained splinter injuries, according to the police.
Bandh supporters also ransacked the collectors office in Malda town in north Bengal.
One person was arrested in this connection.
Sources said, 44 persons were arrested from different areas, from the metropolis and the districts for obstructing traffic during the bandh. shops, bazars, establishments educational institutions remained closed, while attendance in most offices was very thin.
The bandh affected operations at the Calcutta Stock Exchange, which remained officially open, but trading closed abrupty after an hour.
The streets were deserted, with little traffic, except a small number of trams, state and private buses and minibuses. Private vehicles were mostly off the roads.
Congress workers took out processions through some areas in support of the bandh, held in protest against the alleged irregularities in public accounts.
Train services on both the eastern and south eastern railwayss Howrah and Sealdah divisions were suspended as bandh supporters squatted on the tracks at different stations. Several long distance trains, including the down Howrah-bound Rajdhani express, were detained en route.
Miscreants forcibly took away the key from the gateman at a level crossing between Rishra and Sreerampore, much before the bandh began.
Bandh suppporters removed the assistant station master from Barasat station on the eastern railways Sealdah-Bongaon sections.
Flights were near normal, while cargo-handling operations at Calcutta and Haldia docks recorded 85 per cent attendance. 25 per cent staff reported for duty in offices under the Calcutta Port Trust.