Maharashtra bandh peaceful as heavy security deployed; buses, trains running on time

Mumbai, August 9: The day-long shutdown called by a Maratha group demanding reservation in government jobs and education was peaceful on Thursday as buses and trains plied on time with heavy police deployment in Mumbai and its suburbs, officials said.

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Navi Mumbai, which has been exempted from the shutdown, was peaceful as autorickshaws were seen on roads and most shops opened under police watch. There was no effect of the shutdown in Panvel as well.

Western Railway officials said the suburban trains on all the four corridors in Mumbai were running on time.

Brihanmumbai Electric Supply & Transport Undertaking (BEST) officials also said its buses were on roads and that there were no diversions in the routes followed. Taxi and auto rickshaw unions said most drivers have brought their vehicles on the roads but some are cautious.

Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation has, however, kept its intercity route buses off roads fearing vandalism as during the Maratha agitation.

Several domestic airlines, including Indigo, Vistara and Jet Airways, issued advisories to passengers advising them to factor in extra time while travelling to and from the airport. They have also been advised to check departure timings before starting for the airport.

Several airlines have also waived re-scheduling fee for customers travelling to and from Mumbai and Pune.

One of the groups of the Maratha Kranti Morcha (MMK) has called for a sit-in protest outside the suburban collector’s office at Bandra and another faction has announced a shutdown demanding 16% reservation for the community.

The faction which has given the call for a shutdown has assured their protest will be non-violent. The group’s leaders said essential services such as the supply of milk, vegetables, and schools and colleges will be exempted.

There has been a similar splintered response to the shutdown, with district units taking an independent call on the nature of the agitation. While Pune, Aurangabad, Latur and Ahmednagar units of the Maratha outfit have opted for the shutdown, sit-ins will be held outside collector, tehsildar and gram panchayat offices at Nashik, Sangli and Solapur.

The bandh call was given after the co-ordinators held a meeting in Aurangabad. The outfits also plan to start non-cooperation movement across the state from August 10.

Source Hindustan Times