Mumbai city remained silent and sombre as it bid its final adieu to Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. With over 5 lakh people accompanying Thackeray’s body from his Bandra residence to Shivaji Park in Dadar, taxis, autorickshaws and private vehicles stayed off roads.
Shops, stores, restaurants and other commercial establishments downed their shutters and cable TV operators turned off transmission of all entertainment channels to mourn the death of the Sena patriarch .
The mammoth crowd walked in utmost discipline alongside the florally decorated hearse that carried the body of the Sena patriarch. People clicked pictures and paid homage to Thackeray. In most parts of the city, shops, restaurants, malls and multiplexes remained shut.
The situation was no different in Thane. Many private hospitals and medical shops were also closed. In many parts of the city, dairies also remained closed.
In the absence of taxis and auto unions, BEST bus services operated as normal. There were extra local trains deployed on the railway lines in order to facilitate travelling of Shiv Sena supporters who wished to pay their last respects to the patriarch. The Central Railways also cancelled its customary maintenance mega block for Sunday.
Apart from the 5 lakh people who had thronged to pay their respects to Thackeray were 20,000 police personnel to ensure that law and order was not breached. The city remained calm as the followers trailed the hearse carrying Thackeray over a distance of 6 kilometers from Matoshree to Sena Bhavan in Dadar.
However, the police maintained that the establishments, autos and taxis chose to go off business for the day voluntarily without any imposition of a ban from anyone. Apart from the 20,000 strong city police force, also deployed to ensure discipline were 15 companies of the State Reserve Police Force and three contingents of Rapid Action Force.
Reports also indicated that although flights landed and took off from Mumbai as per schedule, many ground staff did not report on duty thus causing inconvenience to arriving passengers who had checked in their baggage at their departing airports.
On Monday, wholesale markets will remain shut as the traders union has called for a bandh. This includes the APMC market in Navi Mumbai. Many Mumbai schools are likely to remain closed.
The Mumbai Taxi Union has said that it would gauge the sitiuation on Monday morning before deciding on whether to ply their cabs or not. However, autos will ply as usual.
Uddhav Thackeray’s personal secretary, Milind Narvekar has confirmed that the Shiv Sena has not called for any bandh either in Maharashtra or Mumbai.
No call for bandh by Shiv Sena: Raut
Refuting reports in a section of the media, Shiv Sena tonight said it has not called for a bandh in Mumbai tomorrow.
The clarification was made by Sena spokesman Sanjay Raut in the wake of reports that shops, commercial establishments and educational institutions would remain closed on Monday to mourn the death of Bal Thackeray.
Incidentally, schools and colleges will be re-opening tomorrow after Diwali vacation.
Though Shiv Sena has not called for bandh, Federation of Associations of Maharashtra (FAM) has asked its constituents and the trading community to observe bandh in the state tomorrow as a mark of respect to the Sena patriarch who passed away yesterday.
In a statement, FAM has appealed to its constituents to observe ‘Shradhanjali Day’ on Monday.
Various trade organisations dealing in grains, sugar, dry fruits, metal, iron and steel and chemicals are affiliated to FAM. India Today