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Maharashtra bandh: Police fire in air as protesters throw stones, set van on fire in Navi Mumbai

Major traffic snarls, disruptions as protesters block busy roads, throw stones at vehicles, torch police van on Mumbai-Pune Expressway at Kalamboli.

mumbai Updated: Jul 25, 2018 15:57 IST
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy
G. Mohiuddin Jeddy
Hindustan Times
Maharashtra bandh,Mumbai bandh,Maratha agitation
Agitators blocked Mumbai-Pune Expressway at its entry-exit point in Kalamboli on Wednesday afternoon.(HT Photo)

The bandh imposed by Maratha outfits disrupted life in Navi Mumbai and Panvel on Wednesday, with the situation getting out of hand in the afternoon as agitators blocked the Mumbai-Pune Expressway at its entry-exit point in Kalamboli, threw stones and set a police van on fire, resulting in lathicharge and police firing in the air.

A protester, Tushar Bajrang Kadam, 25, was reportedly injured in the firing and has been admitted to MGM hospital in Kamothe. Protesters said the bullet grazed the side of his stomach, and that he is out of danger.

The intensity of the bandh is expected to be more severe in Navi Mumbai as compared to Mumbai and Thane, according to bandh organisers themselves, as the Maratha community has dominant pockets in the satellite city.

While shops in most areas remained shut from the morning, later in the day, there were major traffic snarls as protesters blocked busy roads and highways at several spots and reportedly threw stones at BEST buses. Protesters blocked the arterial Sion-Panvel highway at Vashi junction, and staged rasta rokos at Panvel junction, blocking the old Mumbai-Pune highway and Mumbai-Goa highway.

In the morning, auto-rickshaws were operating in the city but went off the roads soon after protesters started forcefully stopping them and, in some cases, assaulting the drivers. The auto union also put up a bandh notice at several places, including Vashi railway station.

The BEST reported that two of its buses had stones pelted on them in the morning near D-Mart in Kopar Khairane. Residents also claimed that stone were being flung at autos in Ghansoli.

A protest at the D-Mart chowk in Kopar Khairane, led by Mathadi leader MLC Narendra Patil, blocked the main road towards Vashi, Ghansoli and Airoli.

Similar protests were held at Shivaji Chowk in Panvel as well. Panchmukhi Hanuman Mandir Chowk, which connects to the old Mumbai-Pune highway and Mumbai-Goa highway, was blocked by protestors who held a dharna at the spot.

Commuters going to railway stations and using buses struggled. Akash Patil, 32, a commuter in Vashi, said: “Auto-rickshaws are not plying here. My office is in Vashi’s sector 19, around four km from the station. I have no option but to walk.”

While schools with morning shifts functioned normally, albeit with low attendance, by afternoon, several schools in Navi Mumbai asked parents to collect their children from school as their buses would not ply.

Monali Kutani, 28, a resident of Kopar Khairane, said: “My child is in school, and I am worried as protestors have blocked the main road. How will the school bus bring him back? I will have to somehow try and go to school and get him home safely.”

First Published: Jul 25, 2018 13:16 IST