Partial response to Sena-BJP Pune shutdown call

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

PUNE - A shutdown called Tuesday by the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protest the removal of a statue of Shivaji’s teacher Dadoji Konddev Tuesday evoked partial response here but majorly affected a key highway linking the city to Mumbai.

“Taking advantage of the fact that the rural police would take time to reach, Shiv Sena and BJP workers jammed the (Pune-Mumbai) highway, leading to traffic blockage which affected some villages (that lie on its periphrey),” a police officer said.

Pune police took no chances, deploying more than 6,000 policemen in the city and the outskirts. Additional companies of the State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and Home Guards were also requisitioned.

“The entire city police force has been deployed to ensure that law and order is maintained. We have two SRPF companies and another three have been called in,” Joint Commissioner of Police Ashok Dhivare said.

“Additional patrols and quick response teams are also on duty,” he added.

Heavy deployment of police personnel was seen in sensitive areas like Kothrud, Warje and Pimpri-Chinchwad, where stray incidents of violence took place through the day.

“Fifteen Shiv Sena activists were detained after they were caught stopping trains, pelting stones on trains and buses and shouting slogans,” an officer of the Lonavala Police Station said.

The activists had earlier stopped two trains and destroyed 13 municipal owned buses in and around the city.

The city, however, saw only a partial response to the shutdown as most private and government offices and even petrol pumps remained open. But some schools and colleges were shut to ensure the safety and security of students.

Last week, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP)-controlled Pune Municipal Corporation passed a resolution to remove Konddev’s statue from the historical Lal Mahal.

The statue was removed at 2 a.m. Monday. Angry BJP and Shiv Sena corporators had later ransacked the civic hall.

Filed under: Politics

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