Mumbai takes no risks, takes a break
Deserted roads, empty trains and buses, free-flowing traffic on the highways, long rows of shops with downed shutters, children playing cricket on the streets and sporadic incidents of stone-pelting marked Mumbai’s response to the nation-wide bandh call given by the National Democratic Alliance on Thursday in protest of the steep hike in petrol prices.mumbai Updated: Jun 01, 2012 01:58 IST
Deserted roads, empty trains and buses, free-flowing traffic on the highways, long rows of shops with downed shutters, children playing cricket on the streets and sporadic incidents of stone-pelting marked Mumbai’s response to the nation-wide bandh call given by the National Democratic Alliance on Thursday in protest of the steep hike in petrol prices.
The majority of Mumbaiites chose to take no risks and stay at home.
The police registered 44 offences in the city, said Nisar Tamboli, Mumbai police spokesperson and deputy commissioner of police. “The cases are related mostly to damage to public property caused due to stone-pelting, rioting,” he said.
A total of 139 people, including some political leaders, were arrested for violating law on Thursday. “The situation otherwise remained normal and under control,” Tamboli said.
Protesters damaged 101 BEST buses, while at Kherwadi junction and Sion Circle they staged raasta rokos. Political activists attempted rail rokos at Sion and Malad stations, but the railway police removed them from the tracks, not allowing any services to be disrupted.
The areas that saw trouble such as stone-pelting and unruly mobs include Dadar, Worli, Parel, Malad, Sion, Mulund, Bandra and Ghatkopar, which are the traditional strongholds of the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
A few citizens had to be taken to hospitals because of bandh-related violence. Riyaz Khan, 28, was driving his car in Bandra with his friend, Rahul Mane, 29, when a mob pelted stones. Mane suffered a tendon injury, but Khan sustained a skull fracture and haemorrhage and was operated upon at Nair hospital.
In another incident, Sandeep Warkhede, 30, had to be operated upon after glass pierced a main artery in his hand during a scuffle at Parel.
Protesting political leaders who were arrested and released during the day include BJP’s Yogesh Sagar, Sudhir Mungantiwar, Kirit Somaiya, Gopal Shetty, Sardar Tarasingh and Raj Purohit and the Shiv Sena’s Dagdu Sapkal and Avinash Adsul. The RPI’s Ramdas Athawale was also arrested and released for trying to block the road at Kherwadi junction in Bandra.
The city police had massive deployment of around 21,000 police personnel across the city.