The day-long 'Maharashtra bandh' called by various Dalit and other organisations to protest the violence against commemoration of Bhima-Koregaon battle has been withdrawn, Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh leader and Dalit icon B R Ambedkar's grandson Prakash Ambedkar said on Wednesday.
Ambedkar told reporters that nearly 50 per cent of the state's population took part in the shut-down. He claimed that the state-wide bandh was peaceful.
However, the Maharashtra bandh, called to protest the violence post an event to mark 200th anniversary of Bhima Koregaon battle, turned violent even as rail and road traffic was disrupted in the Mumbai and other cities including Pune.
A 16-year-old student, Yogesh Prahlad Jadhav, was killed in violence during agitation in Nanded.
Jadhav’s family claims that he was seriously injured during a police cane charge. However, police said the body had been sent for autopsy to ascertain the cause of the death.
Maharashtra Chief Minister, Devendra Fadnavis, has ordered probe to be conducted in the incidents of violence that took place across Maharashtra.
"We are monitoring the CCTV footage of the violence," said Fadnavis.
Ambedkar had called for Maharashtra bandh to protest the state government's "failure" to stop the violence at Bhima Koregaon village in Pune district on Monday.
Normal life in Mumbai was disrupted as protesters attacked city buses, stopped suburban local services and blocked roads at various places in the city.
Dalits began protests in suburban Chembur, Ghatkopar, Kamraj Nagar, Vikhroli, Dindoshi, Kandivali, Jogeshwari, Kalanagar and Mahim, police said.
Hundreds of protesters tried to block the Western Express Highway in the morning, but were moved from the spot by police.
Incidents of stone pelting were reported at a few places across the state, Maharashtra Police said.
Protesters jumped on the rail tracks of harbour line at Govandi, Mankhurd and Kurla, due to which suburban services towards Panvel, Belapur and Vashi were stopped for a few hours, a police official said.
Similar protests at Thane, Bhandup, Kanjurmarg, Vikhroli and Ghatkopar stations on Central Railway line led to a long queue of trains on tracks.
Hundreds of commuters were spotted walking on the railway tracks. On the Western Railway, protesters obstructed services at Nallasopara Station.
Thirteen buses of the civic transport service 'BEST' were damaged by protesters in Kalanagar area (Bandra), Dharavi, Kamraj Nagar, Santosh Nagar, Dindoshi and Hanuman Nagar, a Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation official said.
The agitation of Dalit outfits halted suburban local train service at Ghatkopar as trains heading towards CSMT were affected.
Several local trains running towards CSMT were halted at various stations because of the protestors who stood on the tracks prohibiting any train movement.
Mumbai's famed tiffin carriers 'Dabbawalas' chose not to provide their services today. A spokesperson of the Mumbai Dabbawala Association said, "Since most of our customers may find it difficult to reach office, we have decided to suspend our services today".
Offices in major commercial hubs too witnessed low attendance, as many employees stayed away from work fearing violence.
Mumbai Police registered nine cases today in connection with violent protests in the city. Over hundred people have been detained in the city since yesterday, police said.
In Pune, barring a couple of incidents of stone pelting on public transport buses, the bandh was peaceful.
Buses of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited, were pelted with stones, an official said. Since Tuesday, 42 buses were damaged in stone pelting and since today morning, 10 to 12 busses were damaged, he said.
Flight operations at the Mumbai airport were badly hit due to the bandh. At least 12 flights were cancelled and 235 delayed.
As many as 182 flight departures and 53 arrivals at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (CSIA) were delayed till around 1600 hours, according to a website tracking real-time flight status at airports across the world.
The caste violence rocked the Parliament session even as the RSS rubbished the Congress charge it was fuelling the clashes over which the opposition party also flayed Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his "silence" on the matter.
The RSS sought to put the blame of caste violence in Maharashtra on a "breaking India brigade" which, it said, had raised anti-national slogans at the JNU in 2016 and was now trying to divide the Hindu society.
This brigade also wants to divide the country on religious and caste lines and the Sangh will not allow it to succeed, RSS spokesman Manmohan Vaidya told reporters.
Some Dalit organisations had decided to take out a march to the house of Milind Ekbote, who was booked by Pune police under relevant sections of the Prevention of Atrocities Act and "orchestrating” the violence in Bhima Koregaon on January 1.
Pune police had last night said that they had received a complaint against Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and Delhi's Jawaharlal Nehru University's (JNU) student leader Umar Khalid for their "provocative" speeches at an event in Pune on December 31.
Mevani and Khalid had attended the "Elgar Parishad", an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon, at Shaniwar Wada in Pune.
Violence erupted in Pune district when Dalit groups were celebrating the bicentenary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in which the forces of the British East India Company defeated the Peshwa's army.
Dalit leaders commemorate the British victory, as it is believed that soldiers from the Mahar community were part of the East India Company's forces. The Peshwas were Brahmins, and the victory is seen as a symbol of assertiveness by Dalits.