India's government has raised domestic fuel prices for the second time this year.
The government announced Wednesday the price of gasoline will be raised by about 12 cents a liter and diesel by about seven cents. But the price of kerosene, which is widely used by the poor for cooking, remains unchanged.
Officials say the fuel price increase is necessary to bail out state oil firms that have incurred tens of millions of dollars in losses due to record high global oil prices.
In a televised address late Wednesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh also defended the decision, saying the government is committed to ensuring that "the impact of this global oil shock is minimal."
Petroleum Minister Murli Deora insisted the hike is only marginal.
Communist parties, which are members of India's ruling coalition, have announced week long protests to urge the government to repeal the hikes.
The ruling Left Front in West Bengal has called a 12-hour general strike on Thursday in protest against the so called “anti-people” decision of the Central government to raise the prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas.
Paramashish Ghosh Roy has more on the story.