Call for Mumbai bandh: School buses stay off roads in the city as Dalit protests continue

Jan 03, 2018, 10:04 IST | PTI

School buses will stay off roads in Mumbai tomorrow in view of a Maharashtra bandh called by Dalit outfits to protest the violent clashes in Pune yesterday

Representation pic
Representation pic

School buses will stay off roads in Mumbai tomorrow in view of a Maharashtra bandh called by Dalit outfits to protest the violent clashes in Pune yesterday. The School Bus Owners' Association (SBOA) today said it would not operate its fleet of 40,000 buses tomorrow.

Anil Garg, president of SBOA, told PTI, "For security reasons, we have decided not to ply our buses in the first shift tomorrow. If the situation remains peaceful, we will run the buses in the second shift."

However, if a particular bus owner wanted to operate his services tomorrow, it would be his call, he added. "Law-and-order is beyond our control. Therefore, we cannot take the risk," Garg said. The state government has said schools will remain open tomorrow.

Dalit organisations have called a Maharashtra bandh tomorrow to protest against the BJP-led state government's "failure" to stop the violence in Pune. Clashes between Dalit groups and supporters of right-wing Hindu organisations during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune district had left a man dead yesterday.

The clashes broke out at Bhima-Koregaon when people were headed towards the war memorial in the village, about 30 km from Pune city, the police had said. Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle, which the forces of the British East India Company had won over those of the Peshwa.

Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community -- then considered untouchables -- were part of the East India Company's forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins and the victory was seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits.

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