Protests spilled over to Mumbai on Tuesday as normal life was disrupted owing to clashes between the Dalit and Maratha communities a day after violence erupted during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune district. Traffic came to a standstill and shops and business establishments were closed in many regions as Dalit groups gave a clarion call for “rasta roko” after one youth from the community died during the clashes.
Mumbai’s Chembur and the Sion-Panvel Highway were the worst affected as protesters stopped traffic, making Navi Mumbai hard to reach. However, traffic resumed at Eastern Express Highway in the evening and train services on the Harbour line resumed from 4:40 pm.
Here is a list of the areas in Mumbai and Pune that were affected by the protests:
1) Low-cost carrier IndiGo issued an advisory, saying due to protests in Mumbai, heavy traffic is expected en route the airport. “Request you to please plan your travel in advance to avoid any hassles while boarding. We’ll be providing change and cancellation fee waiver for flights to and from Mumbai for Tuesday and Wednesday,” IndiGo said.
2) In Mumbai’s Chembur, protesters kept parts of the Eastern Express Highway closed to traffic until late in the evening. A large mob comprising people from the Maratha community, including hundreds of women and girls, staged a rasta roko in Koregaon-Bhima on the Ahmednagar road.
3) Around 1 pm in Chembur Naka, protesters, including women, stopped traffic on the Sion-Panvel Highway in both directions for a few hours. Vehicles entering and exiting the city, including State Transport buses, remained stranded. Traffic personnel began to divert traffic through a parallel route after 3 pm.
4) The section of the Eastern Express highway that is north of the sensitive Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar area remained blocked by protestors even as late as 7.30 pm. Many cars were abandoned on the roadside as harried motorists walked or took other means of transport home. Other parts of Mumbai that were affected included Kurla in the central suburbs.
5) Near the Amar Mahal junction in Chembur, around 2 pm, approximately 150 protesters, mainly women and children, gathered on the Eastern Express Highway and refused to let vehicles pass. Traffic congestion was also reported at Ramabai Ambedkar Nagar, Cheda Nagar and Kamraj Nagar due to certain agitations. People are advised to avoid these roads for the moment and may take the LBS Road as an alternative, Mumbai Traffic Police said.
6) In central Mumbai, Republican Party of India workers gathered at the NM Joshi Marg police station and submitted a letter requesting permission for a peaceful protest. They said they have called for a ‘bandh’ in central Mumbai on Wednesday.
7) Thane remained relatively peaceful with the protesters only gathering near Buddh Vihar, whereas Navi Mumbai was affected by long traffic jams. Roads were also obstructed near Rabale by protesters. Mumbai’s Deonar area continues to be affected by the protest as it faces traffic congestion.
8) Services on the Harbour line were affected for most part of the day. Trains between CSMT to Kurla and between Mankhurd to Panvel functioned as normal, though at a slow pace. However, services were disrupted between Kurla to Mankhurd.
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9) In Pune, the situation in the villages of Vadhu, Sanaswadi and Bhima Koregaon located along the Pune-Ahmednagar highway remained tense but under control. Curfew was imposed in the area for most of the day. Barring movement on the highway, the majority of commercial establishments and markets remained closed.
10) Sporadic incidents of stone pelting on buses were reported from Hadapsar, Pune station areas. Buses were vandalised in Hadapsar and in Fursungi, due to which services to Ahmednagar and Aurangabad have been suspended.
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11) Jet Airways waived off cancellation charges including fare difference if any, on all confirmed tickets for flights into/out of Aurangabad, Pune and Mumbai.
12) Police have kept additional forces on standby and some areas have been identified where internet could be suspended so that people cannot spread rumours on social media