Pune: The bandh called by some groups to condemn the violence that took place in Koregaon-Bhima on Monday affected normal life in Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad areas. Barring a few rallies and minor scuffles between groups, the bandh was peaceful in the city.
Although, shops were forced to down shutters, people in the city carried out their normal routine. Some schools functioned as per the routine, while a few had declared non-instructional day for the students. Likewise, major colleges had given a holiday to their students and allowed the staff to leave early. All the offices worked normally, while IT people had the option of working from home.
Tension gripped the city after incidents of stone pelting took place in Koregaon-Bhima on Monday when lakhs of people from across the state and outside gathered here to mark the 200th year of Vijaystambh, a memorial of a battle fought between the British and Peshwa-led Maratha forces on the banks of Bhima river.
Kothrud/ Karve Nagar/ Paud Road
All the shops and eateries except for medical stores on and off Karve Road were closed. Many petrol pumps also seemed to be closed. Malls and hotels too were shut.
Shops were forcibly shut down by the protesters roaming around on bikes in large groups. According to the residents, stone pelting took place on the shops that were opened near Pratidnya Hall in Karve Nagar. Paud Road, Karve Road, other smaller roads and bylanes in the area had very low traffic flow. Groups of people on bikes were seen in several lanes and crossroads.
Aundh/ Wakad/ Pashan/ Sus Road/ Ganeshkhind Road
A protest march was carried out from Wakad bridge to Hinjawadi Chowk and near Wakad police station. Protesters marched with flags and raised slogans of Dr Ambedkar. Shops in Hinjawadi, Wakad, Balewadi, Sus, Pashan, Aundh remained shut in the morning. Around 200 protesters gathered outside Balewadi stadium on Wednesday morning. Some protesters including youths and women carried out a bike rally in peth areas and forced all shops to shut on Wednesday afternoon.
Apurva Ganesh, who works with a bank in Hinjawadi, said her office had asked all the employees to leave early. Those working in IT companies were given the option of working from home or taking the company bus to work. Autorickshaws were not seen at the usual stands. A rally was also taken out near SSC board office, Shivajinagar.
Deccan/ Fergusson College Road/ Law College Road/ Senapati Bapat Road
While Fergusson College Road seemed normal, main restaurants like Vaishali, Rupali and Wadeshwar remained closed. Other major eatery chains like Cafe Coffee Day, McDonalds and KFC were closed throughout the day on Wednesday. On Senapati Bapat Road, the traffic was reduced to 30 per cent of the usual. The commercial establishments downed shutters, fearing violence by the miscreants.
Kondhwa/ Camp/ Nagar Road
Near about 12.30 pm on Wednesday, some four to five motorists who were involved in protest, started shutting down shops and stores from Shivane to NDA Kondhwa gate. A rally took place in which 100 people including women and children above the age of 14 were participating. People in Kondhwa preferred to stay indoors.
Shirish Dhale, a resident of Sukhsagar Nagar who works in Magarpatta, Hadapsar was unable to reach his office as no vehicles were plying by Katraj-Kondhwa road. “My office cab was on its way to pick me from Sukhsagar Nagar but due to the ongoing protest on the road the cab could not reach me. I chose to stay home,” added Dhale.
In Wagholi after 11 am the shops were closed down and the traffic was reduced on the roads, as people avoided going out.
Peth Areas/ Sinhagad Road
In peth areas the shops were open till 12 noon, but a group of youngsters roaming on bikes forced the shopkeepers to close down. The usual hustle-bustle was missing and the roads had sparse traffic. In the by-lanes, children were playing while women were seen chatting. Senior citizens too were seen in groups discussing the current situation.
Pimpri-Chinchwad continued to stay paralysed for the second consecutive day. The shops were forcibly shut by the miscreants. Residents who were dependent on the public transport found it difficult to reach their offices as rickshaws, buses and trains were not functioning or running behind the schedule.
All the main routes in the industrial town and crossroads were diverted and barricades were laid down by the police. Although there were no incidents of violence reported from the twin-township, the usually busy roads transformed into a playground with kids seen playing bat-ball and other games.