50 Hurt, 1,200 Arrested During General Strike
Nov. 03, 1992
NEW DELHI, India (AP) _ About 1,200 people were arrested today during a nationwide general strike called by a right-wing opposition party to protest rising prices.
At least 50 people were hurt in Bombay in the most serious violence reported during the daylong strike, which closed many shops but did not affect government offices or banks.
Many gas stations and restaurants remained open in the capital. Buses, taxis and bicycle rickshaws were seen on the streets, but there were few private vehicles, news reports said.
In some areas of India strikers sat on railways, delaying express trains, the Press Trust of India news agency said.
The strike was widely seen as a test of the rising popularity of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party, which has grown in nine years from a fringe Hindu fundamentalist group to the largest opposition party in Parliament.
In New Delhi, Party Secretary Madan Lal Khurana and 500 activists were picked up before dawn in ''preventive arrests,'' meaning they could be held for 24 hours without charges.
About 600 other party workers were arrested in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, and another 100 were held in other parts of the country, the United News of India said.
Prices of food, vegetables, milk and gasoline have risen by 10 percent to 20 percent in the last six months.
In the morning, party workers in New Delhi hurled stones at buses and deflated their tires, but they were dispersed by riot police. No injuries were reported.
BJP workers also forced some schools to close and were seen urging shopkeepers to close. Most store owners complied, either because they feared violence or because many businessmen support the party.
Delhi University was deserted.
In Bombay, party activists who stormed the Maharashtra state legislature building clashed with police swinging night sticks, leaving at least 50 people injured, Press Trust said.