Agartala, July 13 (IANS): The 12-hour shutdown on Friday called by the youth and student wings of the Congress party to protest alleged irregularities in medical and engineering entrance examinations has crippled life in Tripura.
Supported by the opposition Congress, the state units of the Youth Congress and National Students' Union of India (NSUI) jointly called the strike to protest what they called "planned and conspiratorial devaluation of merit and gross nepotism" in the Tripura Joint Entrance Board (TJEB) exam.
"The strike was successful with people expressing their protest against the wrongdoings by the Left Front government-run TJEB exam and preparation of merit list," Tripura Congress president Sudip Roy Barman told reporters.
According to the police, responding the strike call, most markets, business establishments, offices, educational institutions and banks remained closed. Vehicles remained off the roads and train services were disrupted.
Buses plying between Tripura and Bangladesh and other northeastern states were also hit. "Hundreds of trucks plying between India and Bangladesh were stranded at the Akhaurah check-post due to the shutdown," a customs official here said.
However, air services on the Agartala-Kolkata, Agartala-Guwahati and Agartala-New Delhi routes have been "operating normally", an Agartala airport official said. "Except some stray incidents, the shutdown has so far been mostly peaceful. No major untoward incident has been reported from anywhere in the state. Police have arrested around 500 picketers from different parts of the state," Inspector General of Police Nepal Das told IANS.
The TJEB examinations were held in April for selection of students for medical, engineering and other technical courses in institutions in Tripura and other states. The results were declared last month.