MUMBAI Bandh: Called Off After Large Scale Violence

AFTER unprecedented violence, The Maratha Kranti Morcha called off the bandh declared in Mumbai on Wednesday saying that they wanted Mumbaikars to return home safely. However, the protests continued to be staged in the neighbouring Thane. They had declared bandh in Mumbai and adjoining districts to demand reservations in education and government jobs.Two police vehicles were reportedly set ablaze in Navi Mumbai’s Kalamboli. Dozens of private vehicles have also been vandalised. Normal life  was adversely affected in Mumbai and neighbouring Thane and Navi Mumbai on Wednesday due to the bandh demanding reservation for jobs in government office and educational institutions for 30 per cent people out of an estimated 12 crore  population of Maharashtra  Two BEST buses were attacked by agitators in Kanjurmarg and Bhandup suburbs of Mumbai.Stones were pelted  by a section  of agitators on buses in various places  compelling the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) partially suspending its services in those areas and expects to resume it when the situation improves, an official of the transport body said. Protesters also hurled stones at a public transport bus in Wagle Estate area of the neighbouring Thane city.

They blocked some areas there, including the key Teen Hath Naka junction, resulting in long queues of vehicles on the road leading to Mumbai.A bus was also attacked in Ghansoli area of Navi Mumbai following which the city transport authority suspended its services in the area.Agitators gathered at various locations in the Mumbai region and the neighbouring Raigad and Palghar districts.At some places, protesters raised slogans against Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Public Works Department Minister Chandrakant Patil for allegedly insulting sentiments of the Maratha community.The suburban railway services on the western, central, harbour and trans-harbour lines were however not affected, officials said.An estimate 7 seven million people travel in local trains daily in the Mumbai region.The Maratha Kranti Morcha, which is spearheading the agitation for reservation in jobs and education, has called for the shutdown in Mumbai and some neighbouring districts today.Another outfit, the Sakal Maratha Samaj, called for the bandh in Navi Mumbai and Panvel areas. Violence marred a state-wide protest by Maratha outfits demanding reservation for the community.

A constable died and nine other policemen were injured amid suicide attempt by three agitators during the violence. Agitators had clashed with the police and torched vehicles at several places on Tuesday while Internet services were suspended in rural areas of Aurangabad district to prevent any untoward incident. In Jalna, the police had fired in the air to quell protests. CM Fadnavis had cancelled his visit to a temple in Pandharpur on Monday after protesters threatened to disrupt the event. Despite assurances given by CM Fadnavis, nothing concrete has been done till now related to the demands, agitators complained. “We will continue our agitation until the CM apologises to the Maratha community for alleging that some members from the community were planning violence at Pandharpur,” Morcha coordinator Ravindra Patil said on Tuesday. The damages and loses were estimated at  several crore INR .The agitation was taken over by lumpen  and anti-social elements as per  visuals  watched on TV channels.

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