Mumbai: On Wednesday, the bandh imposed by Maratha outfits the disrupted life in Navi Mumbai and Panvel with the situation getting out of hands in the afternoon as the agitators blocked the Mumbai-Pune Expressway at its entry-exit point in Kalamboli in Maharashtra. They threw stones and set a police van on fire, which resulted in lathi-charge and police firing in the air. As of now, nobody has been reported to be injured. The intensity of the Maratha bandh is expected to get severer in Navi Mumbai as compared to Mumbai and Thane, as per the Maratha bandh organizers themselves, as the Maratha community has dominant pockets in the satellite city. While shops in most areas remained shut from the morning, later in the day, there were major traffic snarls as the protesters blocked busy roads and highways at several spots and reportedly threw stones at “BEST” buses.
In the morning, auto-rickshaws were operating in the city but went off the roads soon after protesters started forcefully stopping them and, in some cases, assaulting the drivers. The auto union also put up a bandh notice at several places, including the Vashi railway station. The BEST reported that two of its buses had stones pelted on them in the morning. The residents also claimed that stone was being flung at the auto-rickshaws. Commuters going to railway stations and using buses struggled. Akash Patil, 32, a commuter in Vashi, said: “Auto-rickshaws are not playing here. My office is in Vashi’s sector 19, around four km from the station. I have no option but to walk.” While schools with morning shifts functioned normally, although with low attendance. By afternoon, several schools in Navi Mumbai asked the parents to collect their children from school as their buses would not run because of Maratha bandh. Monali Kutani, 28, a resident of Kopar Khairane, said: “My child is in school, and I am worried as protestors have blocked the main road. How will the school bus bring him back? I will have to somehow try and go to school and get him home safely.”