‘Vegetable and fruit supplies to city hit’
Stray incidents of violence and rail blockades were reported in Navi Mumbai on Monday. Barring chemists, most shops remained shut, while only a few school and colleges functioned.
In Kopar Khairane and Ghansoli, civic buses were stoned, followed by Shiv Sena activists burning tyres. Bharatiya Janta Party leader Suresh Haware led a rail roko at Vashi at 12.30 pm. Police detained the protestors.
In Kalamboli, there was an attempt to block the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, and the police had to forcibly remove the protestors. At Panvel, Sena local leader Baban Patil led a rail roko, and was detained the police.
The wholesale Agriculture Produce Market Complex was shut. Since vegetable deals are struck very early in the morning, 348 tempos carrying vegetables left for Mumbai from the market, which had 404 trucks coming in with supplies.
Traders said that in the fruit market, 122 trucks arrived but just 56 tempos left. In the onion and potato market 115 trucks arrived while 13 tempos carried commodities to Mumbai.
In the spices and grain markets, 112 and 244 trucks arrived respectively, but none left. Sources said Sena leaders called up shops to warn them against opening. Police arrested 200 people across Navi Mumbai.
‘Will the bandh bring down the high prices?’
Maharashtrian-dominated areas like Parel, Lalbaug and Dadar — the epicentres of previous bandhs — were calm on Monday.
These areas were traditional Shiv Sena strongholds that recently switched loyalties to Raj Thackeray’s Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS).
“There was a complete bandh in these areas; people voluntarily shut shops,” said Sandeep Deshpande, MNS leader.
Prakash Prajapati, who had arrived from Rajasthan, was angry that he could find no accommodation. “Will the prices come down by this strike?” he thundered. He said the strike only served to further political interests while causing inconvenience to the public.
Senior Sena leader Manohar Joshi, Sena corporator Hemant Doke and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manisha Kayande courted arrest in the area. MNS legislators Bala Nandgaonkar and Nitin Sardesai were arrested by the police while trying to block traffic.
“We had a reaching KEM Hospital as we couldn’t find a bus or a taxi to take my wife there,” said Mangesh Nimkar, whose wife Shilpa is suffering from jaundice. She was running a high fever, so she couldn’t travel by train.
Minor incidents of bus tyres being punctured and a rail roko at Dadar were reported.
‘No train delayed for more than 5 minutes’
Several Shiv Sena, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Republican Party of India (RPI) activists stopped trains and pelted stones at buses in the western suburbs, but the police said no one was injured.
Police detained 117 activists from the western suburbs and 328 in the northern parts of the city. Among them were BJP MLA Yogesh Sagar, Sena MLA Vinod Ghosalkar, BJP MLA Gopal Shetty, and senior BJP leaders Gopinath Munde and Sudhir Mungantiwar.
Munde and 1,000 of his supporters were protesting outside Andheri (E) station and were detained before they could disrupt train services.
Buses were attacked in Amboli and S.V. Road in Andheri, at Versova and Santacruz (E). Trains ran smoothly at Borivli, barring a few minutes’ delay in the morning. The Opposition staged a rail roko in a staggered manner, each party stopping trains for a few minutes.
Sena activists were the first to stop trains. Some commuters were slapped and asked to alight. An hour later, Shetty also tried to stop trains. The last agitation was by Ramdas Athavale’s RPI faction. “Our officers dealt with the situation. No train was delayed for more than five minutes,” said P.M. Karyakarte, of the Government Railway Police.
Central Suburbs, Thane
‘Bandh justified, but violence scares me’
Minor incidents of stone pelting and violence were reported from eastern Mumbai on Monday. Police officers from Zone 7 said they detained over 180 persons while they were trying to disrupt train services, stop buses or vandalise vehicles.
At 8 am at Mulund, BJP leader Kirit Somaiya tried to stop trains, but was thwarted by the police. “The bandh is justified, but the violence scares me,” said Sudhir Panday, a commuter.
Most of the action was concentrated in Mulund. Among others, police arrested MLC and RPI leader Jogendra Kabade while he was staging a rasta roko. Later, a few buses were vandalised at Ghatkopar and Vikhroli.
Over 430 people were detained as a preventive measure from Saturday in Mulund, Bhandup, Ghatkopar and Vikhroli. Over 1,000 policemen and other security personnel were deployed
In Thane, a few buses were attacked and trains were stopped. The police arrested 504 protestors, among them Sena MP Anand Paranje, MLA Eknath Shinde, Thane Sena chief Naresh Mhaske and BJP MLA Sanjay Kelkar.
A rail roko was staged at 9.30 am. “We brought the situation under control. The train left by 9.51 am,” said A.M. Jadhav, Railway Police inspector.