Bharath Bundh Disrupts Life in Mumbai

News & Pics: Rons Bantwal

Mumbai, Jul 4: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists and the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) went on a rampage pelting trains, buses and shops with stones and holding up traffic on roads in several parts of the city.

Two bus conductors, a driver and a passenger in a municipal corporation-run BEST bus were injured in stone-throwing in the suburb of Malad, as per BEST's public relations officer

Several buses were damaged in western suburbs. A shop selling Kashmiri handicrafts in Churchgate in south Mumbai also came under attack from the activists who broke the show cases and threw out the handicrafts. Over 2,000 BJP activists were detained and released with 60 of them released on furnishing a personal bond, said a BJP spokesman.

(Protesters at Borivali, Mumbai.  BJP leaders Gopal C Shetty, Ram Naik are also seen)

The VHP with BJP support had called for a nationwide shutdown to protest the reversal of decision on land transfer to the Amarnath Shrine Board in Kashmir and the suspension of the Amarnath pilgrimage. The Shiv Sena said it would not join the shutdown but would extend moral support. Some years ago, the Shiv Sena had to pay a hefty fine over a violent protest following a court order.

(Protesters at Santacruz, Mumbai)

Senior BJP leader Gopinath Munde led a road blockade at Opera House in south Mumbai only to be taken into custody and then released. Other BJP leaders to be detained and released were Prakash Mehta in Ghatkopar and Gopal Shetty in Borivili.

(Activits damaged a Jammu-Kashmir Emporium shop near Fort, Mumbai)

"The shutdown was 100 per cent successful not only in Mumbai but all over Maharashtra. We held sit-ins in Girgaum in south Mumbai and in Santacruz, Vileparle, Andheri, Ghatkopar and Borivili in the suburbs." said VHP state leader Venkatesh Abdeo.  He says such protests will continue "until the land is transferred to the Amarnath Shrine Board. If there is no Amarnath yatra, we will ensure there is no Haj pilgrimage, too."The Kashmir government's action has "hurt our religious sentiments", he says. The VHP has begun appealing to people not to buy Kashmiri products.


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