The shutdown against rising prices and inflation paralysed life in large parts of Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai with public transport off the roads and government buses being stoned in several places.
As Mumbai woke up this morning, a majority of the BEST public buses were seen on the roads along with normal suburban train services. However, services were hit later in the day and buses began to ply empty. Most people preferred to remain indoors in the near-total absence of autorickshaws and taxis.
A BEST driver said, "We were not expecting empty buses. Though we wanted to stay home but we were asked to report on compulsion basis."
Authorities at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport made special arrangements for passengers arriving or departing from Mumbai. The focus was also on transit passengers, who would require to commute between the national and international terminals.
BEST buses pelted with stones
In Mumbai, BEST buses were pelted with stones in suburban Mulund, Dadar, Vakola, Charkop, Worli, Kandivali, Kalina, Versova and Vikhroli, damaging windows and windscreens, police sources said. BJP activists staged noisy protests outside Borivali station, at SV Road in Kandivali and also in suburban Chembur.
As many as 42 BEST buses were damaged and two drivers injured due to stone pelting by protestors, police said.
Local trains were plying as usual in the city. However, road transport was hit in most parts of the city.
In Navi Mumbai, trains and buses were plying normally and no incidents of violence was reported.
Sena MLA arrested
Captain Abhijit Adsul, the sena MLA from Amravati district and son of Member of Parliament A Adsul, was arrested at around 10 am at Kandivali along with nearly 50 supporters. Abhijit claims he was carrying out a protest rally with bullock carts and few local people, when the police arrested him.
"I am at police station they have arrested me and my supporters. We were protesting and will keep protesting the hike," said Abhijit.
The BMC's disaster management team informed that three people suffered minor injuries in Marol after an electric overhead wire broke. The victims were treated for their injuries and later discharged from a hospital in Ghatkopar.
The Eastern Expressway, the arterial road which connects suburbs to Mumbai saw less traffic than usual as some of the officegoers preferred to stay home in view of the bandh. Taxis and autorickaws were plying normally.
However, leaders of taxi and rickshaw unions have announced that they will take vehicles off the roads in case of any untoward incident. The dabbawalaas, who supply tiffin to office goers have also taken a day off.
Meanwhile, the Mumbai University has announced that there will no change in its exam schedule for today irrespective of the nationwide bandh. Home Minister R R Patil said the government will take stringent action against those creating nuisance during the bandh and has also asked police officials to deal sternly with incidents of violence during the bandh.
Bandh hits Maharashtra
In Pune, protestors damaged 13 Pune Municipal transport buses and they also deflated tyres of buses at some place. Stone pelting was reported on 10 buses in Nagpur and one bus in neighbouring Thane district. In Satara, in western Maharashtra, activists stopped some buses by blocking roads as part of the bandh.
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(With inputs from agencies)
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