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Last Updated: Monday, 9 October 2006, 13:21 GMT 14:21 UK
West Bengal hit by general strike
Cyclist on deserted Calcutta tramline
The strike left Calcutta's roads deserted
The Indian state of West Bengal has been hit by a 12-hour general strike called by opposition parties.

The shutdown was called to protest against the acquisition of fertile farmland to set up a car factory.

Officials say around 7,000 protesters were arrested across the state for "creating a disturbance".

The strike was called by West Bengal's main opposition party, the Trinamool Congress. There was tight security as opposition activists blocked roads.

'Creating a disturbance'

"The strike is total and it has the spontaneous support from the people," said Mukul Roy, the head of the Trinamool Congress Party.

Most shops, schools and stores across the state and its capital, Calcutta, remained closed and most public transport came to a halt.

The demonstrators also blocked railway lines and bridges.

However, the strike did not affect Calcutta's international airport.

Correspondents say that the protesters are unhappy over the state government's decision to allocate 1,000 acres (404 hectares) of land owned by farmers in the Hooghly district of Calcutta to India's largest automobile manufacturer, Tata Motors Ltd.

They have accused the government of not paying adequate compensation to the farmers.

Police said that in some areas, clashes took place between protesters and state activists of the ruling Communist Party of India (Marxist).




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