Pune: The bandh declared by the Maratha Kranti Morcha over the reservation issue turned violent near Chandni Chowk on Pune-Bengaluru Highway and the police resorted to lathi-charge to control the mob on Thursday.
Police officials said five policemen sustained injuries when some protesters pelted stones and traffic was blocked for about four hours.
Protesters started gathering on Paud Road and at the highway around 11 am. Within two hours, their numbers swelled. “Around 2,000 protesters were present on the highway near Chandni Chowk. They were there till 2 pm. However, soon after, 200 youths came back and blocked traffic on the highway by putting large stones and tree branches. There were 60 police personnel, who tried to get them out of the place. At that time, some youths who had covered their faces with handkerchiefs violently attacked the police with stones. Police cars were damaged and five police personnel sustained injuries,” said Joint Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) Shivaji Bodkhe.
Commissioner of Police Dr K Venkatesham said, “After the stone pelting by the crowd, the police resorted to lathi-charge and used teargas shells to disperse the crowd. The situation was brought under control and traffic was restored.”
According to the police, some private vehicles were damaged. On Karve Road, vehicles of Pune Metro officials were damaged and banners were torn up. A policeman was injured in the incident. There was tension in Kothrud area till evening.
“Due to the tension, traffic moving towards Paud and Mulshi was stopped. Protesters burnt tyres on Paud Road. They also pelted stones on vehicles. Police fired in the air also and used teargas shells. But the mob didn’t move, following which the police resorted to lathi-charge, as there was stone pelting from two sides on the police,” said Additional Police Commissioner (South region) Ravindra Sengaonkar. Traffic towards Mulshi from Kothrud resumed around 5 pm. Around 100 people were detained for blocking roads in Kothrud and other areas.