Shutdown near-total in Mumbai, most of Maharashtra
The shutdown against rising prices and inflation paralysed life in large parts of Maharashtra and its capital Mumbai with public transport off the roads and government buses being stoned in several places.
Despite stringent security measures taken by the government, there were at least four incidents of government buses being stoned in Pune and Thane as the shutdown by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiv Sena, Left, Samajwadi Party and others got underway this morning.
Besides, the shutdown has been supported by anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare and even Mumbai's 'dabbawallas', who will not provide their regular tiffin delivery services Thursday.
Several top opposition leaders, including BJP state chief Sudhir Mungantiwar, Gopinath Munde, Kirit Somaiya, Sardar Tara Singh, Gopinath Munde and others, were detained for protesting in public places.
The ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party government has deployed tight security all over Mumbai and other parts of the state to counter the opposition shutdown that evoked spontaneous response across the state.
As Mumbai woke up this morning, a majority of the BEST (Brihan Mumbai Electric Supply and Transport) public buses were seen on the roads along with normal suburban train services.
However, services were hit later in the day. Most people preferred to remain indoors in the near-total absence of autorickshaws and taxis.
Authorities at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport made special arrangements for passengers arriving or departing from Mumbai. The focus was also on transit passengers, who would require to commute between the national and international terminals.
Though office-goers decided to start early to encounter shutdown delays, student community was not affected as it's the vacation season.
Home Minister R.R. Patil told reporters Wednesday night that the government respected the people's right to agitate but would not tolerate any kind of force or coercion.