Economic Reform Opponents Walk in India

Millions of leftist Indian workers went on strike June 16 against deep economic reforms they fear could cost huge numbers of jobs, officials said.

Reports from around the country suggested the strike, marred by scattered violence in which one person was killed, was only partially successful outside West Bengal, where it was supported by the Marxist government, a vociferous opponent of reform.

The 12 million strikers, most of them from state-run industries where leftist unions are strong, brought banks, insurance companies, domestic air travel and other industries to a virtual halt in many places.

The strike was the second called by leftist political parties and unions since the Congress Party regained power in elections last June and set about dismantling the bureaucratic controls over the economy.

The reforms, implemented more rapidly and reaching further than anyone had expected, are intended to switch India to an open market economy.

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