A joint effort by the Pune City and Rural police ensured that the ‘rasta roko’ protest called by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) against collection of toll in the state turned out to be a flop show, as minimal traffic disruption on the highways and major junctions were experienced by the motorists.


Toll order: After MNS corporator Rupali Patil and her supporters tried to block traffic at Sant Kheteshwar chowk at Katraj, she was taken into custody by Bharti Vidyapeeth police

However, a few incidents of violence were reported after party chief Raj Thackeray's arrest in Mumbai, wherein MNS workers pelted stones at a few PMPML buses. By the end of the day, the police had arrested 124 party leaders and detained 450 workers.


Toll collection at the booths near Manjri remained unaffected despite attempts by MNS workers to protest on the Pune-Solapur Road. Pics/Mohan Patil

NS activists tried to stop vehicles at Sant Kheteshwar chowk in Katraj, but timely police action prevented chaos. Officials from Bharti Vidyapeeth police station arrested MNS Corporators, including Rupali Patil and Vasant More, at Katraj junction.

The workers were successful in preventing toll collection from motorists at the Khed-Shivapur toll plaza just before the commencement of agitation at 8.45am. But the Pune Rural police personnel reached the spot and detained 20 MNS workers. Fearing backlash, the toll plaza employees shut the booth till evening.


Packed like sardines: MNS workers, carrying party flags, stuffed themselves inside an ST bus

The Warje police arrested eight MNS activists, including their leader Raja Gorde, who tried to deflate the tyres of a private bus at Chandni chowk to induce a traffic jam around 8.30 am. After taking the workers into custody, the police immediately moved the bus and restored traffic flow.


MNS corporator Rupali Patil and her supporters being detained by officials from Bharti Vidyapeeth police station yesterday. Pics/Mohan Patil

Loni Kalbhor police also detained 20 MNS workers at the toll collection booths near Manjri in the afternoon. But unlike Khed-Shivapur toll plaza, toll collection here continued uninterrupted. Attempts by MNS leaders to block the Pune-Nagar Road proved futile.

450
Number of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena party workers detained