The year 2018 gave a rogue start to the state of Maharashtra as the BJP led state was afflicted by caste violence for the first three days of the year. The protests which only got stronger and louder by the day, has left the state bleeding due to loss of business. The state lost business amounting to Rs 700 crore in the last two days, said Viren Shah, president of Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association.
With just 150 detained and two right-wing leaders booked for inciting violence, there will be few held answerable for the damages to the state’s revenue. The inconvenience caused to the common man will go unaccounted altogether.
Section 144 imposed in Thane saw citizens stay away from the street as pro-dalit group protesters and activists took to the street chanting "Jai Bhim" slogans. As tension mounted in Chembur, Ghatkopar, Kamraj Nagar, Vikhroli, Dindoshi, Kandivali, Jogeshwari, Kalanagar and Mahim, 90 BEST buses were damaged due to stone-pelting and four drivers sustained minor injuries. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) buses were suspended in some sensitive districts in fear of damage to property. Protesters deflated public buses in Pune during their rampage. The public transport authority of Pune said 55 of their city buses were vandalised and that they are facing losses upto Rs 1.5 crore due to non-operation. The city saw 21 rasta-roko (road-blocking) incidents.
Mumbai’s cardinal mode of public transport, the local trains saw the Western and Central lines temporarily suspended during the day. A central railways public relations officer said that 110 local train services on the central line were cancelled. AC train service were suspended throughout the city for the day.
Aside suspensions on road and railway tracks, daily lives in Pune and Mumbai were halted too as school buses refused to ply despite schools remaining open. Mumbai’s famous dabbawallas too stopped service for the day owning to disruptions in public transport. Internet was temporarily cut off in the city of Aurangabad. Pune even saw forced shut down of shops by Bhim Sainiks while hospitals recorded decline in number of patients as people were too scared to step out of their homes.
Maharashtra’s tourism capital, Aurangabad saw dip in tourists from 4,500 to 5,000 daily to 550 Indians and 75 foreign tourist yesterday said the Archaeological Survey of India.
As the state saw protestor run amok, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis put the blame on ‘outsiders’. “We (Maharashtrians) have always striven to stay away from communal and casteist forces. But outsiders are coming here, and trying to influence and instigate people of the state. They are trying to disturb the harmony. We are confident that people will not follow them,” he said.