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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Bal Thackeray dead: life comes to halt in Maharashtra

PTI  Mumbai, November 17, 2012
First Published: 23:04 IST(17/11/2012) | Last Updated: 23:06 IST(17/11/2012)

Life virtually came to a halt in several parts of Maharashtra following the death of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray on Saturday.

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Shopkeepers and hoteliers downed shutters immediately after the news of his death.

There were some stray incidents of stone pelting in some areas in Mumbai and Thane. Taxis and autos were off the roads while local trains and BEST buses were plying in Mumbai though BEST authorities suspended operations in select areas where incidents of stone pelting were reported.

Office-goers tried to rush back to their homes as the news of Thackeray's death spread.

The central Railway has cancelled the mega block on both Central and Harbour lines in Mumbai tomorrow to help the people to attend the last rites of the departed leader.

Cabs and autos which remained off the roads today at the airport would also not operate tomorrow as a mark of respect for the departed leader, authorities said.

Reports coming from many cities including Pune, Nashik, Aurangabad and parts of Konkan said that shops and restaurants remained closed there and autos were off the roads after the news of Thackeray's death was received.

There were stray incidents of pelting of stones on BEST buses at Pantnagar in suburban Ghatkopar, Naupada (Thane), Prateeksha Nagar, Kamothe (Navi Mumbai).

The BEST suspended its operations in Mulund, Bhandup, Kandivali, Sion, Shivaji Nagar, Jogeshwari(E) and Kalanagar in Bandra.

However, the transport undertaking said that it would operate its bus services on Sunday for the convenience of people who would come to pay last respects to Thackeray.

Security was tightened up across Maharashtra, particularly in Mumbai where 20,000 police personnel were deployed, to keep a tight vigil following the death of Thackeray.

"The entire police force is on an alert in Maharashtra. Lakhs of people are expected to visit Mumbai to take a last glimpse of Thackeray," a senior police official at Maharashtra Police Headquarters said.

In Mumbai alone, over 20,000 city police, 15 companies of State Reserve Police Force and three contingents of Rapid Action Force have been deployed.

"The funeral procession will begin at 7 am on Saunday. We have deployed enough number of police force at Sena Bhavan in Dadar, Matoshree in Bandra and at Shivaji Park where the last respects would be paid," Mumbai Police Commissioner Satyapal Singh said.

"I appeal to people to remain calm and maintain law and order. Citizens should step out of the houses only if it is urgent. There would be traffic restrictions, particularly in Bandra and Dadar areas," Singh added.

Police have made an appeal to motorists to avoid Western Express Highway as roads connecting Kalanagar area, where Thackeray's residence is located, have been cordoned off.

The entire city wore a deserted look as shops, hotels, restaurants and other commercial establishments were closed and there was sparse traffic on the streets.

"We did not ask anybody to keep their shops shut. People are doing it voluntarily," Singh said.

Appropriate arrangements have been made at the Shivaji Park where VIPs are also expected to reach to pay homage tomorrow, Singh added.


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