Afternoon D & C Dedicated To Mumbai
Home > City news > CITY GROUND TO A HALT!


Thursday, January 04, 2018
By Dev Kotak and Tariq Khan. Photographs by Trupti Arekar

India’s financial capital - Mumbai ground to a halt on Wednesday as Dalit groups damaged buses, blocked roads, railway lines and Metro services to protest against the death of a 28-year-old man and violence near the bicentennial celebrations of a British-era war. Daily life also came to a standstill in the suburbs of Thane, Dombivali, Navi Mumbai and across Maharashtra in cities such as Nagpur, Pune and Aurangabad because of a statewide bandh. The bandh was called off later in the day. “Inquiry will be conducted in the incidents of violence that took place across Maharashtra. We are monitoring the CCTV footage of the violence,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said in the evening.



Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of Dr Babasheb Ambedkar last evening called off the bandh and all barricades were moved, shops reopened up and the highways and important roads saw free flowing, smooth traffic.

Certain sensitive pockets of Mumbai (in the eastern and central suburbs) continued to be affected and remained dysfunctional for the second day in a row in the wake of an ongoing Bhima Koregaon Battle 200 years' commemorative celebrations. Certain areas wore a deserted look as BEST, State Transport Buses, cars and other vehicles stayed off the roads, fearing violence and damage. Shops in Worli too largely remained shut on GM Bhosale Marg, Near BDD Chawl in Worli which is also a dalit dominated locality.

The efficient city police were largely successful in containing the violence and not giving the miscreants an upper hand in paralyzing the city. However, areas believed to be Dalit strongholds, the agitators managed to disrupt rail services, block key highways and cause damage to shops refusing to meet their demands of closing down. The agitation raged on intensely, so much so that angry protestors did not even let an ambulance pass on Western Express Highway (WEH).

However, the Maharashtra Bandh was withdrawn with the cops largely managing to quell situations in most of the areas.

The duo- Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote, believed to behind inciting violence and bringing Mumbai to a halt, have had FIRs registered in their names, but have not been arrested yet. The two have been booked for inciting violence.

Areas near the Eastern Express Highway (EEH) were blocked near Ramabai Nagar (Ghatkopar), Mankhurd Railway Station (rail roko on the tracks), Kamraj Nagar, Chheda nagar, Panjarapole (Chembur) and Chembur Naka witnessed incidents of lathi charge in order to quell a violent crowd.

There was heavy patrolling on the Mulund-Dadar, Sion panvel Link Road as there were incidents of burning of tyres. Riot Control Police had been stationed in Ghatkopar, chembur and Mankhurd.   

There were traffic snarls and trains crawled (taking commuters hours) as many were even canceled.

The cops ensured that trains run smoothly (even though they ran slow) and were prompt in clearing the protestors off the tracks. Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) maintained a tight vigil and kept the situation calm, averting a major law and order situation.

In yesterday's incident, 48 BEST buses were damaged due to stone pelting and 4 BEST bus drivers  suffered minor injuries.

Schools and colleges shut early and students were asked to take a half day.

ACP Jayram More, who was injured in a stone pelting attack was seen back on patrolling duty, overseeing operations with a sling in his fractured left hand.

DCPs of Zone VI (Shahaji Umap) and VII (Akhilesh Singh) received additional charge and assistance was provided in the form of extra reinforcements.

Two motorbikes in Powai were set on fire and overall private 15-20 cars were damaged.

Miscreants targeted cars on highways and moved around with flags on their bikes and vehicles and were seen intimidating and clashing with cops in several (central and eastern suburban) parts of the city.

When dalit youths went to Govandi's Shivaji Nagar area, near MHADA colony and ordered closure of shops, the local residents did not allow them to do so, driving them away in the process. There could have been a skirmish, that could have snowballed into a communal clash. The police was deployed almost instantly in order to fend off what could have been a communal riot.

Mumbai Police PRO said that there was no incident of firing anywhere. The legal process of registration of cases would continue.

As per exclusive information to ADC, a senior police official said, after the footages (of those involved) are scanned the guilty will be picked up individually (and FIR filed) in order to avoid charges and arouse suspicion of targeting only the particular community (Dalits).

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