With high police security and protesters resorting to sit-in, Maratha bandh had no impact on city
Mumbai: In a stark contrast to the protest two weeks ago, Mumbai remained calm and peaceful on Thursday despite the bandh call given by Maratha organisations demanding reservation.
While Pune, Latur and Nashik witnessed violent agitations, protesters in Mumbai chose not to go overboard and held sit-ins at Bandra, Ghatkopar and Panvel.
The traffic movement was smooth on city roads as many chose to not bring their cars. “I travelled by a share cab from Mira Road to my office in Andheri. Today, I had a meeting in Bandra. There was no traffic jam while travelling in the morning towards Bandra,” Abhijit Joshi, who works with a PR firm, said.
“Trains were running smoothly like any other day,” Ninad Siddhaye, a media executive who travelled from Vile Parle to Prabhadevi, said.
The Mumbai Police said no untoward incidents were reported in the city, although shops remained shut as a precautionary measure in several pockets. “The entire police station staff, supplemented by some additional personnel from the local arms division, have been enforcing bandobast, which will continue till Thursday night,” Mumbai Police spokesperson DCP Manjunath Singe said.
Home department officials said adequate crisis management systems were in place. “Protesters did not resort to violence and until afternoon, we did not have reports of violence,” additional chief secretary (home) Sunil Porwal said.
Intelligence reports said the Maratha protests were largely peaceful except a few places in Pune and nearby areas. “We had identified zones where violence could occur and security measures had been put in place,” chief secretary DK Jain said.
Little effect on transport
Central Railway, Western Railway, and the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) had taken precautionary measures.
The CR had deployed around 500 Railway Protection Force personnel and 200 Government Railway Police personnel across the section, especially at Ghatkopar, Thane, Kalyan, Koparkhairane, Ghansoli, Belapur, Vashi and Mankhurd.
On the WR, around 35 security personnel were deployed at stations such as Virar, Vasai, Nalasopara, Dahisar, Kandivali, Borivali, Jogeshwari and Dadar.
BEST buses ran smoothly with no instances of violence. Nine routes had to be diverted at Ghatkopar, Bhayander and Chunabhatti. “We diverted the routes on the instruction of the police. Barring these routes, no bus services were affected,” Hanumant Gophane, spokesperson, BEST, said.
The only transport that was crippled was the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC). All three depots in the city were shut, with several commuters opting for trains.
“We have been waiting since morning for a bus to Mahabaleshwar. We will wait until 2 p.m. and then might take a train,” Sunita Sakhare, who lives in Mahabaleshwar, said.
“We had started informing commuters on Wednesday night that there is a likelihood of buses not running. We have asked individual bus depots to be in touch with their collector and the superintendent of police, and start services only with their assurance,” a MSRTC official said.
Navi Mumbai closed
Though Navi Mumbai was exempted from the bandh, schools and the APMC market except the grain market, remained closed. “There were no incidents of violence or protest anywhere in zone I. We had detained two men as a preventive measure and later, detained nine after we received information that they were trying to instigate people,” Sudhakar Pathare, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone I, said.
No cases of detention were reported in zone II, Deputy Commissioner of Police Ashok Dudhe said. The shops at Koparkhairane and Ghansoli were shut. Meanwhile, a group of 50 people from the Sakal Maratha Community protested outside the Panvel tehsildar office.