Maha bandh': Security tightened; transport unaffected
Mumbai: The 'Maharashtra bandh' called by Dalit leader Prakash Ambedkar's party on Friday to oppose the new citizenship law saw heavy police deployment across the state with public transport and normal life remaining largely unaffected.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) has called for the statewide shutdown to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Barring stray incidents of stone pelting and attempt to disrupt road traffic in Mumbai, there was not much impact of the bandh in the metropolis.
While a BEST (BMC's transport body) bus was stoned by unidentified persons near Swastik Park in suburban Chembur, VBA supporters gathered in large numbers at Teen Haath Naka in Thane to protest against the CAA, an official said.
Several VBA activists were detained by the police, when they tried to stop vehicles on Eastern Express Highway at Ghatkopar, he said.
Partial impact of the bandh was seen in pockets like Kurla, Sion-Trombay Road, Byculla, Dadar, Wadala and Andheri, the official added.
The Prakash Ambedkar-led party has claimed the support of over 50 political and social organisations apart from labour unions for the 'bandh'.
Ambedkar noted that several NGOs and citizen groups had demonstrated against the CAA and the NRC, but no political party had done so till now.
"That's why we are staging protest over the CAA and the NRC. In addition to this, the economy is in a bad shape and people's attention is being diverted. We will flag these issues," Ambedkar said.
In view of the 'bandh', the police tightened securityacross the state to maintain law and order, the official said.
Adequate number of police personnel have been deployed in Mumbai and its suburbs to prevent any untoward incident during the shutdown, the official said.
Apart from Mumbai, VBA supporters participated in the bandh in other districts such as Solapur, Sindhudurg, Pune Rural, Kolhapur, Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, Osmanabad, Beed, Jalna, Parbhani, Latur, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Akola, Bhandara and Yavatmal, he said.
Meanwhile, public transport services in Mumbai, including suburban trains, remained unaffected.
Suburban and outstation trains on both the Central and Western Railways, buses of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), Metro, monorail, taxis and auto-rickshaws were plying normally.
Tight security was in place at all train stations and no untoward incident has been reported till now, a Railway official said.
According to a BEST official, the shutdown had no impact on their services. "Almost 98 per cent of our buses had hit the roads by 8 am," he said.
Although spokespersons for Metro and monorail could not be reached for comment, sources said the operation of both modes of public transport plied without disruptions.
Taxi and auto-rickshaw unions said black and yellow taxis in the city were on the roads.
"There have been no reports of any attempt to stop taxis from plying," taxi union leader AL Quadros said.