Most Mumbaiites took a break and sat at home on Thursday in response to the nation-wide bandh called by the National Democratic Alliance against the recent fuel hike.
While taxis and autos stayed off the roads, the city’s lifeline — the local trains — ran without disruptions, although they were largely empty. The Shiv Sena-controlled Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport Undertaking suffered the maximum damage, with 101 buses being stoned across the city.
Sporadic incidents of violence were reported, but the city remained largely peaceful. The police registered 44 offences and arrested 139 people, including political leaders, said Nisar Tamboli, deputy commissioner of police. “The cases were mostly related to damage to public property caused due to stone-pelting, rioting, etc.,” he said.
Almost all commercial establishments, malls and cinema halls stayed shut.
“The fear that grips the city during a bandh was visibly absent on Thursday,” said MP Joshi, a senior manager in a public relations firm.
The Sena, which usually agg-ressively enforces its bandhs, kept a low profile, allowing its ally, the BJP, to make all the noise.
The BJP claimed it was a total bandh. “People reeling under the impact of the price rise showed their displeasure over the UPA’s decision to hike petrol price,” said Sudhir Mungantiwar, state BJP president.