Maharashtra bandh today in support of farmers
All non-essential shops and services will remain shut across Maharashtra on Monday as the state government has announced a bandh or strike in support of farmers. This comes a week after eight people, including four farmers, had died in violence in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur Kheri during a farmers' protest. Here are more details on this.
8 BEST buses vandalized in Mumbai
Eight BEST buses have been vandalized since last night in Mumbai and very few buses are currently operating, according to a BEST spokesperson. Several traders' unions across Maharashtra have expressed support to the shutdown by closing shops. However, the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association (FRTWA) has objected to the strike call, raising concerns over poor business amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Police, CRPF make arrangements for the strike
The Mumbai Police has made arrangements for the strike and will deploy officials at strategic points. Three companies of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), 500 Home Guards, and 700 members from other forces will aid the city police in maintaining law and order. Meanwhile, local trains are operating on their regular schedule, the Mumbai Police said.
Maharashtra's ruling parties support the bandh
All three parties that comprise the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi coalition in Maharashtra have extended support to the bandh. In fact, the Shiv Sena, the Indian National Congress, and the Nationalist Congress Party had announced the strike in a joint press conference. "I request 12 crore people of Maharashtra to...join the bandh and stop your work for a day," state Minister Nawab Malik said.
BJP opposes bandh; warns against 'forced closure of shops'
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has strongly opposed the bandh. "If shopkeepers are forced to close shops tomorrow by any of the MVA karyakartas (workers), they will have to face BJP karyakartas. Police should ensure no one is forced or else there will be a law and order situation, which is not our responsibility," BJP leader Nitesh Rane said.
8 died in Lakhimpur incident; Minister's son arrested
On October 3, violence broke out in Lakhimpur after an SUV ran over protesting farmers there. Union Minister Ajay Mishra's son Ashish Mishra is accused of killing the farmers. After days of police inaction, Mishra was questioned for hours on Saturday and subsequently arrested. The Supreme Court had also slammed the UP Police for allegedly mishandling the case.