Maharashtra shutdown disrupts normal life


Agencies, Mumbai Incidents of violence, blockages of roads, highways and railway, stone-pelting at public and private vehicles, processions and protest demonstrations paralysed large parts of the state in the day-long statewide shutdown, called by various Dalit parties on Wednesday, amid tight security. Groups of Dalit activists jumped on the railway tracks, shouting slogans and waved flags to attempt rail-blockades at various stations in Thane and Palghar districts, but were prevented by the security forces. Hordes thronged Dahisar checkpost, the critical entry point to Mumbai and staged a road blockade, preventing traffic movement in both directions, and leading to vehicular snarls. Stones were pelted at vehicles in parts of Goregaon, Jogeshwari, Powai, Bhandup, Chembur, Govandi, Andheri East in Mumbai and parts of Navi Mumbai. Schools and colleges opened as usual in Mumbai, but most students remained absent, while school buses stayed off roads as a precaution.A private school bus was stoned in Chembur, but there were no injuries to anyone. Maharashtra Bandh called off Train services, Metro and city buses began plying after the Maharashtra Bandh was called off from 1700 hrs by Prakash Ambedkar, leader of Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh.Talking to mediapersons, Mr Ambedkar said that their intention was to hold a peaceful protest to express their anger. Nearly 50 per cent people in Maharahtra participated in this bandh he said. Meanwhile, the Mumbai Police said that the traffic was returning to normal. North and South bound traffic has eased up on Western Express Highway, while the Eastern Expressway is also clear up to Thane.