Mumbai on Saturday witnessed a second day of protests in the wake of the Pulwama terror attack.
Western suburban train services, between Vasai and Nala-sopara, were disrupted for nearly five hours. The services resumed after the police resorted to a mild lathicharge to disperse the crowd.
The protest at Nalasopara station began around 8 am with protesters reaching the tracks and stopping trains. All the four lines were blocked.
Officials from the Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force initially tried to request the protesters to vacate the tracks and allow resumption of service. The protesters, however, refused. A mild lathicharge was subsequently carried out and eight protesters sustained injuries.
“Due to public agitation at Nalasopara station, all services between Virar and Nalasopara were temporarily terminated. Services between Churchgate and Vasai road station were running normally,” said an official from the Western Railway.
Train movement was restored around 1 pm. As many as 54 local and long-distance trains were cancelled due to the protests.
“Around 3,500 people gathered at the station and took over the tracks. We initially tried talking to them but as it was over four hours of disruption, we had to force them out of the tracks,” Vasai Additional Superintendent of Police Vijay Sagar said. The police claimed that the protesters pelted them with stones and two policemen were injured.
Protest marches also took place in different parts of the city, in Thane and Navi Mumbai. Markets in south Mumbai, Belapur, Mumbra and Titwala were closed to pay homage to the CRPF personnel.
“My office is in Thane. As I left for office, there was no one was on the road. None of the shops was open… so I decided to return home,” said Rahul Mishra, a resident of Titwala (East). Many came together at Bhendi Bazaar and Haji Ali junction to observe a bandh. “Shops at Heera Panna market were shut,” said a police officer.