Mumbai: Bharat Bandh, which started out as a peaceful protest on Monday against the Centre’s inability to check the rising fuel prices, took a turn for the worse when workers of Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) forcibly shut down shops and establishments at Parel’s Bharatmata Junction Naka. Elsewhere, according to a report in The Indian Express, Congress leaders Ashok Chavan and Sanjay Nirupam were detained by the police and taken to DN Nagar police station. (Also read: ‘Global Factors Behind Fuel Price Hike, Cong Trying to Derail Democracy’)
MNS activists also led aggressive protests in Mumbai, Thane, Palghar, Pune, Nashik and others areas of the state. Earlier, MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande had said, “We are protesting peacefully but anger has spilled out on the streets. People are angry at the incompetence of this government, and against the fuel price hike.” MNS workers in Chembur even brought a donkey at a petrol pump and garlanded it with a picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (Catch LIVE Updates Here)
Normal life has been hit in Maharashtra with fewer auto rickshaws and taxis operating in Mumbai. Cab aggregators are also reported to be over-charging. Meanwhile, essential services like milk, medicine and hospitals are unaffected. However, schools have been shut today as a precautionary measure. Local trains on all the three routes; Western, Central and Harbour were running normally. At Andheri railway station, Congress workers staged ‘Rail Roko’ agitation.
As per preliminary reports, the shutdown has elicited a mixed response in urban centres but has found support in the semi-urban and rural areas which have been badly hit by the fuel prices. The shutdown has been supported by Nationalist Congress Party, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (S), RPI (G), Peasant and Workers Party, Left Parties, Swabhimani Shetkari Party, Peoples Republican Party.
Meanwhile, in the national capital, Congress President Rahul Gandhi protested over how the Centre had failed the country on all counts. He said there were no jobs, the women weren’t safe and the farmers were in distress.