City tense as protests continue, 117 held

34 cases registered; cop, nine-year-old girl among the injured; police say peace restored, urge people not to forward post or link .

Pune | Updated: June 2, 2014 4:04:51 am
protest-main Protesters block a road on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway on Sunday. Rajesh Stephen

Tension prevailed in various parts of the city from Saturday night to Sunday evening as workers of some political parties, particularly the Shiv Sena, and local groups resorted to stone pelting and forced shops to down shutters.

This was in reaction to an allegedly objectionable photograph posted on social networking website Facebook about the warrior king Shivaji, his son Sambhaji and late Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray. The link of the post was further circulated through messengers apps on phones, triggering the violent reaction on Saturday night, according to the police.

“The objectionable post has been removed from the Facebook page after we asked them to do so and an offence has been registered at the Kothrud police station. We urge the people not to forward such posts or links and not to believe in any kind of rumour. Peace has been restored in the city and police bandobast is in place as a precautionary measure,” said Joint Commissioner of Police Sanjay Kumar.

The police said incidents of stone-pelting were reported from the jurisdiction of 24 police stations. In most cases, it was PMPML buses that were pelted with stones. Assistant Police Inspector Dhananjay Jagdale of Hinewadi police station sustained a serious head injury in the stone-pelting, while a nine-year-old girl sustained minor injuries in Pimpri. The worst affected area was Bhosari where over 30 vehicles in a locality were damaged and protesters tried to set ablaze four two-wheelers.

The police have registered 34 offences in connection to all these incidents and 117 people were arrested. Nearly 100 people were detained but released later.

Shiv Sena city unit head Shyam Deshpande said: “The reaction of the Shiv Sainiks was a spontaneous one. But as this is a cyber attack on our leader and idols we have decided to fight this in a legal manner. We have registered an offence and the page has been removed from the website.”

Traffic on the Pune-Mumbai Expressway and the old highway was also blocked for a couple of hours during afternoon as some local groups staged road blockade. Long queues of vehicles were seen in the afternoon and the traffic movement remained very slow till evening.

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