Post-protest, commuters stranded at rly stations

Aug 12, 2012, 08:26 IST | Chetana Yerunkar

Around 4 pm, Masjid Bunder station, which is one stop away from Chhatrapati Shivaji Station (CST) � where over 25,000 members and activists of several Muslim organisations gathered at the Azad Maidan protesting the attacks on Muslims in Myanmar and Assam � was a scene of chaos and fear

When an Ambarnath-bound train from CST entered the platform, the compartments were already filled with protesters returning from CST. Commuters on the platform were forced to climb on to the rooftops. Many of them, however, joined in and started shouting slogans such as Inquilab Zindabad. Trains going to and fro were halted for more than 15 minutes. 

An injured constable admitted at GT Hospital. Pic/Sameer Markande

Nineteen year-old Pranjali Manjrekar was returning to her home in CST after meeting friends in Byculla. “The public was screaming ‘Inquilab Zindabad’. I just wanted to reach home,” said Manjrekar, hoping her mother, who works at Masjid Bunder, reached home safely.

The scene at CST station at 4.30 pm, on the other hand, was quiet, as cops had cleared crowds out of the station. A police inspector of Marine Lines police station, , on condition of anonymity, said, “Mob psychology cannot be predicted, which is why the incident spiralled out of control. Many police officers were injured.”

Twenty three police officers and two civilians, who were injured during the protest, were rushed to GT Hospital, Marine Lines. Dr Jeetendra Sankpal, superintendent, GT Hospital, said, “Around 25 injured are being treated here.”

According to Vidyadhar Malegaonkar, CPRO, Central Railways, 38 services on the main line and 45 on the harbour line were cancelled till 9 pm. “The total number of expected cancellations till the end of service was about 100. Protection was provided to motormen upto Dadar and Wadala for a few services. There has been no damage at CST yet. Many Mumbaiites who had been stranded on the roads also entered the station premises for safety. The subways do not come under our jurisdiction.”

The BMC has deployed 27 labourers to clean the area where the incident took place, according to Vasant Prabhu, deputy municipal commissioner (Zone I). 

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