Maharashtra Bandh, called by the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi, to oppose the new citizenship law saw heavy police deployment across the state with public transport and normal life remaining largely unaffected.
The Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) has called for the statewide shutdown to protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC).
Barring stray incidents of stone pelting and attempt to disrupt road traffic in Mumbai, there was not much impact of the bandh in the metropolis. Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi chief Ambedkar took to his Twitter handle to appeal to people to keep peace and calm.
While a BEST (BMC's transport body) bus was stoned by unidentified persons near Swastik Park in suburban Chembur, VBA supporters gathered in large numbers at Teen Haath Naka in Thane to protest against the CAA, an official said.
Several VBA activists were detained by the police when they tried to stop vehicles on Eastern Express Highway at Ghatkopar, he said.
Partial impact of the bandh was seen in pockets like Kurla, Sion-Trombay Road, Byculla, Dadar, Wadala and Andheri, the official added.
The Prakash Ambedkar-led party has claimed the support of over 50 political and social organisations apart from labour unions for the 'bandh'. Any official stance from the Congress and NCP on these protests isn't out in the public domain yet. Ambedkar said that he expects all political parties to join the protest against the 'undemocratic style of work of the centre.'
Ambedkar noted that several NGOs and citizen groups had demonstrated against the CAA and the NRC, but no political party had done so till now.
Apart from the CAA and NRC, the economic slowdown is another reason cited for the protests. "That's why we are staging protest over the CAA and the NRC. In addition to this, the economy is in a bad shape and people's attention is being diverted. We will flag these issues," Ambedkar said.
In view of the 'bandh', the police tightened security across the state to maintain law and order, the official said. Adequate number of police personnel have been deployed in Mumbai and its suburbs to prevent any untoward incident during the shutdown, the official said.
Apart from Mumbai, VBA supporters participated in the bandh in other districts such as Solapur, Sindhudurg, Pune Rural, Kolhapur, Nashik, Dhule, Nandurbar, Osmanabad, Beed, Jalna, Parbhani, Latur, Aurangabad, Nagpur, Akola, Bhandara and Yavatmal, he said.
Meanwhile, public transport services in Mumbai, including suburban trains, remained unaffected. Suburban and outstation trains on both the Central and Western Railways, buses of Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST), Metro, monorail, taxis and auto-rickshaws were plying normally.
Tight security was in place at all train stations and no untoward incident has been reported till now, a Railway official said. According to a BEST official, the shutdown had no impact on their services. "Almost 98 per cent of our buses had hit the roads by 8 am," he said.
With PTI inputs