How Are Smaller Cities Affected by Maharashtra Bandh?
Things came to a halt in not just the metropolitan cities but also in the smaller towns and cities of Maharashtra.
Violence broke out in Maharashtra between the Dalits and Marathas, as the former was celebrating the victory of their ancestors in the Bhima Koregaon battle on its bicentenary, in Pune on 1 January.
For the last two days, the state has seen stone-pelting, torching of buses and civil unrest in the bigger cities of Mumbai and Pune and a bandh. But the violence has crept into the smaller towns of Maharashtra as well. Protests were also held in Kolhapur, Parbhani, Latur, Ahmednagar, Aurangabad, Hingoli, Kolhapur, Nanded and Thane districts, police said.
The bandh called by Dalit organisations in the state evoked a partial response in Ahmednagar district on Wednesday with police stating that no incidents of violence or stone-pelting being reported till late afternoon.
Schools and colleges remained shut as a precautionary measure and buses of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) stayed off the roads, said officials.
The effect of the bandh was seen in areas like Shrirampur, Kopergaon, Haregaon, Bhingar, Shevgaon, Jamkhed and Shirdi among other places.
A total bandh was observed in Amravati on Tuesday. Protesters submitted a memorandum to the chief minister and the governor through Resident Deputy Collector Nitin Vyavahare.
The memorandum submitted to the CM and governor demanded that those involved in the violence at Bhima Koregaon be booked under the National Security Act and the Maharashtra Control of Organised Act.
They also demanded trying the case in a fast-track court with lawyer Ujjwal Nikam to plead it.
The protesters also demanded permanent police security for the Smriti Stumbh at Bhima Koregaon and compensation worth Rs 1 crore to the family of the deceased and Rs 75,000 each to those injured in the violence.
They also demanded an impartial probe into the matter through a panel headed by former Chief Justice of India, Justice KG Balakrishnan.
The protesters demanded the arrest of Milind Ekbote and Sambhaji Bhide who, they alleged, were responsible for the violence against the Dalits.
State transport buses and city buses did not ply on the roads while the collector ordered closure of schools and colleges as a precautionary measure.
Markets remained shut in Nagpur on Tuesday along with most schools after Dalit leaders called for a state-wide bandh.
Protest marches were taken out in several areas. Joint Commissioner of Police Shivaji Bodhke told PTI that two incidents of stone-pelting were reported in the city.
A man got injured in stone-pelting in New Kamptee area, he said.
Two companies of the State Reserve Police Force and 250 home guards have been pressed into service.
Police appealed to the march organisers to not to block roads, and hand over their memorandums of demands to police stations in the area, Bodhke said.
Commercial establishments in Nashik and Satpur, Ambad, Nashik Road localities remained closed.
Buses of the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation and auto rickshaws too remained off the road. The administration had already declared a school and college holiday.
Over 2,000 police personnel were deployed in the city, said a police official. The bandh was also being observed in Manmad and Lasalgaon.
A Manmad-Lasalgaon ST bus was stoned this morning at the Lasalgaon Railway Gate and some agitators tried, unsuccessfully, to set the bus on fire, according to the rural police control room officials.
Police Commissioner Ravindra Kumar Singhal and District Superintendent of Police Sanjay Darade have requested people not to believe rumours or forward false or inflammatory WhastApp messages.
(With inputs from PTI)
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