More than 200 people were detained by Mumbai Police on Monday in connection with Maharashtra Bandh-related violations
Mumbai/New Delhi: The Congress on Monday observed ‘maun vrat’ or a ‘silent protest’ across the country to demand the resignation or sacking of Union minister Ajay Mishra, whose sonAshish Mishra has been arrested over allegations of running over farmers in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri. Priyanka Gandhi, general secretary incharge of Uttar Pradesh, led the protest in Lucknow along with Rajya Sabha MP Deependra Hooda, senior leader Pramod Tewari and state unit chief Ajay Kumar Lallu.
On the day that the Congress had asked all its state and Union Territory chiefs to observe a three-hour “maun vrat”, from 10 am to 1 pm outside Raj Bhavans or Central government offices, normal life was hit in major cities of Maharashtra due to the statewide bandh called by the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) alliance to protest the killing of farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri in UP.
While shops and markets were closed, local train services in Mumbai remained unaffected. Barring a few incidents of stone-pelting and clashes, the bandh went off quietly.
The shutdown was “observed peacefully” amid widespread support, Maharashtra minister Nawab Malik said, but he added that "some incidents of people throwing stones were reported.”
“The coalition's bandh call has received support from Left, some other parties and trade unions. The bandh was observed peacefully,” he said.
Heavy police security was deployed in Mumbai, with police personnel, including women, seen on patrolling duty in every area of the city. There was extra traffic police deployment on the city roads, where people were mostly seen travelling in private vehicles.
More than 200 people were detained by Mumbai Police on Monday in connection with Maharashtra Bandh-related violations.
In Mumbai and neighbouring cities like Thane, Kalyan-Dombivali, Navi Mumbai, most of the shops and commercial establishments, barring those connected with essential services, remained closed. Bus services were affected and taxis and auto-rickshaws also remained off roads. However, local train services were unaffected, due to which there were large crowds on railway stations. The Metro rail services were also operating normally in the city.
The BEST bus services were closed after incidents of stone-pelting at some places. BEST said its buses were damaged in areas like Dharavi, Mankhurd, Shivaji Nagar, Charkop, Oshiwara, Deonar and near Inorbit Mall. Non-cognisable offences were registered against unknown persons for vandalising BEST buses.
The Agricultural Produce Market Committees (APMCs) in the state remained shut. Mumbai’s well-known dabewallas also extended their support to the bandh. “We condemn the attack on the farmers at Lakhimpur Kheri in UP,” said the association.
A union of traders in Maharashtra had earlier objected but later decided to support the bandh. “After the request of Shiv Sena and other party leaders, we have decided to keep shops closed till 4 pm in support of the shutdown call,” Viren Shah, chief of Federation of Retail Traders' Welfare Association (FRTWA), said. Pune shopkeepers supported the band by keeping all shops closed in the district except the essential services.
According to onlookers, activists of the Shiv Sena beat autorickshaw drivers who were ferrying passengers in Thane with canes. At many places, protesters forced shopkeepers to down their shutters in the presence of police personnel.
In Navi Mumbai, activists of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) threatened shopkeepers and forced them to down shutters near the APMC market area in Vashi.
Shiv Sena workers ransacked a Shivbhojan hotel located near the bus stand in Chandrapur. Notably, this hotel provides food at a cheap rate to underprivileged people under the Shiv Bhojal Thali (food plate) scheme of the Shiv Sena-led MVA government. Local Congress MP Suresh alias Balu Dhanorkar led a motorcycle rally. A separate rally was organised by the NCP.
Clashes were reported between MVA and BJP supporters in Bhusawal. Several activists from both sides were injured in the clashes.
Former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis from the BJP alleged that though traders and businessmen were against the bandh, they were being threatened to participate in it. “This is a state-sponsored bandh that has been imposed and implemented with the administration’s help. The ruling coalition is misusing the police to impose the shutdown,” he said.