Hours after union agriculture minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar was slapped by a man in New Delhi, protests erupted at a few places in the city and neighbouring Thane.
Party workers blocked roads at Worli Naka, Navghar and Sion.
In some areas, shops downed shutters as a mark of protest. Activists also blocked parts of the Western Express Highway on Thursday afternoon.
However, no major incident was reported from any part of the city, joint commissioner of police, law and order, Rajnish Seth said.
In Thane, NCP workers blocked the Modella check naka and the Anandnagar check naka for over two hours, leaving commuters stranded.
Thane resident Vijay Singh Raghvan was bringing home his seven-day-old baby and his family from a hospital in Mumbai.
“We were stuck near the check naka for an hour. They [NCP activists] should not inconvenience people like this,” said Raghvan, a sailor with the navy.
A school bus bringing back 60 students of Gyan Kendra school in Andheri, from a picnic was also stuck at the toll naka because of the protest. “The students were tired and thirsty. I had to ask around for water,” said Sudha Singh, the school teacher in charge.
Activists also vandalised two cars and burned effigies of Pawar’s assailant Harvinder Singh. The Thane police detained more than 60 activists for blocking the roads and burning effigies and made a few preventive arrests under the Bombay Police Act.
Anticipating an escalation in disruptions, Mumbai police has put the entire force on high alert. Seth said that all deputy commissioners of police (DCPs) and assistant commissioners of police (ACPs) have been asked to man the patrolling duty in their respective jurisdictions. Police stations have been asked to deploy maximum personnel on the road to deter potential troublemakers.
Police have also appealed to leaders and their followers not to make inflammatory statements.
Sources in Mumbai police said that following the New Delhi incident, special instructions have been given to policemen deployed for VIP security — of politicians in particular — to step up access-control during public interactions. They have been asked to barricade the VIP area and ensure the designated buffer from the public, despite any complaints of inconvenience that such moves are likely to induce.