Shutdown near-total in Mumbai, most of Maharashtra (Second lead)

May 31st, 2012 - 5:34 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Mumbai, May 31 (IANS) The shutdown against rising prices and inflation called by opposition parties paralysed life in large parts of Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai with public transport off the roads and government buses being stoned in several places.

Scores of protestors, including leaders from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Republican Party of India (RPI) and Shiv Sena, were detained by the police for protesting in public places.

Despite stringent security measures taken by the government, there were at least four incidents of government buses being stoned in Pune and Thane as the shutdown called by the BJP, Shiv Sena, Samajwadi Party, and Left and other parties got under way Thursday morning.

Most shops and commercial establishments, showrooms and hotels observed a shutdown, fearing violence. Protestors barged into establishments that had opened in the morning and forced them to join the shutdown.

A group of protestors also shut down a Syndicate Bank branch in south-central Mumbai.

However, most corporate houses and offices in the city continued to work like a normal weekday.

Employees came in as usual as they were alerted to come early owing to the bandh.

However, attendance was low as compared to other working days.

Top opposition leaders, including BJP state chief Sudhir Mungantiwar, Gopinath Munde, Gopal Shetty, Raj Purohit, Kirit Somaiya, Sardar Tara Singh, and others, were detained for protesting in public places and disturbing public peace.

Later in the day, local trains resumed usual services and a few auto-rickshaws also started plying within select pockets of the western suburbs.

Nearly 60 BEST (Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport) buses were damaged in Mumbai and two drivers suffered injuries in stone pelting by protestors demonstrating against the recent petrol price hike, police said.

In Pune, protestors damaged 13 Pune Municipal Transport buses while over 10 buses in Nagpur were stoned.

Most parts of Maharashtra - from Nagpur in Vidarbha to Nashik, Aurangabad to Satara in southern Maharashtra - also observed a near total shutdown.

Heavy police security and patrol continued in areas of northwest and central Mumbai near railway stations, bus depots, taxi stands, and in places where Shiv Sena and BJP activists staged ‘rasta roko’ (road blockade).

The student community was not affected because of the ongoing summer vacation.

The shutdown was supported by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and even Mumbai’s ‘dabbawallas’, who did not provide their tiffin delivery services Thursday.

Authorities at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport made special arrangements for passengers arriving or departing from Mumbai. The focus was also on transit passengers, who would require to commute between the national and international terminals.

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