Sporadic incidents of stone pelting reported in Mumbai

None | ByMegha Sood and Debasish Panigrahi, Mumbai
Nov 29, 2006 11:47 PM IST

Protests against the alleged desecration of a statue of Babasaheb Ambedkar in Kanpur were seen in dalit dominated areas, reports Megha Sood and Debasish Panigrahi

Tension gripped some parts of Mumbai and suburbs including Kalyan as Dalits staged spontaneous protests against the alleged desecration of a statue of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar in Kanpur.
Violent protests including stone pelting was reported from Chembur and Ramabai Nagar in Ghatkopar which has a sizeable Dalit population, said sources in police control room.
A mob of more that 150 persons under the banner of the Republican Party of India (RPI) party took to the roads and held a impromptu rasta roko on Wednesday afternoon on the Eastern Express Highway near Pantnagar.

HT Image
HT Image

A mob staged protests in the areas of Kamraj Nagar in Ghatla village, Lal Dongri, Shivaji Nagar, Siddharth Colony and Suman Nagar in Chembur.
At around 2.45 pm the local residents of Ramabai Nagar came out on the roads to protest against the government. They shouted slogans and stopped the vehicular traffic.

The police, which arrived shortly afterwards, brought the crowd under control. However the Rapid Action Force (RAF) was called in to restrain the crowd for further destruction but by then the mob had already started pelting stones on the ongoing traffic.

The mob damaged some BEST buses and private vehicles.

According to PP Boparai, Senior Inspector of Chembur police station the situation in the area was tense but was under control.
"Seven vehicle including two buses, one State Transport bus, one taxi and private vehicles were broken in stone pelting during the day. The situation is still tense in the area but we will restore peace as soon as possible," added Boparai.

By 8.00 pm the DCP of the area had arrested five persons from the Lal Dongri region for allegedly rioting in the area. In protest, a mob of more that 200 people staged agitation in front of the Chembur police station.

"I was just passing by the area to go to my house when suddenly stones were pelted on my car piercing into the front of glass of the vehicle. Some how I saved myself and left the place. The mob was very furious and was looking as if they would destroy anything in their way," said Khilol Mukhi, a resident of Chembur, who was on his way home.                  

Police vehicles made rounds in the lanes of the eastern part of the area till late night.
"I was passing by Kurla when I got stuck in the traffic. On my right I saw huge mob that was protesting with blue RPI flags. At about 4.40 pm a shower of stones came our way and about 100 odd cars stuck in the traffic were damaged. I had to leave my car there and run for shelter," said Sachin Shah, a resident of Chembur naka. 
All shops shut down in Chembur naka, Siddharth Colony, Chembur camp and Ghatkopar east fearing more violent attacks.
The effects of the desecration were also felt in Kalyan and Ulhasnagar with irate mobs pelting stones and damaging vehicles.
As news of the incident spread, a 500- strong mob staged a rasta roko at Ambedkar chowk in Ulhasnagar’s Chopada court area and pelted stones at shops forcing them to down shutters.
The mob comprised of a majority of women, and a large posse of the local police and the SRPF, which was deployed at the site was trying to bring the situation under control till late on Wednesday.

The effect of the agitation was more pronounced in the dalit dominated areas of the city. 
Similar stone pelting incidents were also reported from Ambernath and Kalyan, where the mob burnt three rickshaws.

(With inputs from Kiran Sonawane)

Megha Sood Email: megha.sood@hindustantimes.com


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