Mumbai halts, cops keep it calm

But for the thousands on streets from Bandra to Dadar to pay last respects to Sena chief Bal Thackeray, the rest of Mumbai wore an unfamiliar deserted look on Sunday. The bandh-like situation of Saturday evening after the Thackeray demise was made public prevailed.

Over 20,000 police personnel were keeping vigil, aided by 15 State Reserve Police Force and three Rapid Action Force companies. "The city was peaceful," said Niket Kaushik, ACP (Crime).

Both office and residential areas were desolate as people chose to stay indoors through Sunday. Shops, commercial establishments, including restaurants, malls and hotels, and even medical stores kept shutters down, while movie theatres cancelled shows.

It was no different in Navi Mumbai and Thane.

Most auto-rickshaws and taxis remained off streets and the ones that were plying, passengers complained, demanded exorbitant fares. "I needed to go to Santacruz but could not because the taxi driver sought Rs 2,000," said Leena Rege of Shivaji Park, Dadar.

Thampi Kurien, auto-rickshaw union leader, and Anthony Quadros of taxi union said they would study the situation on Monday morning before taking a call on resuming services.

BEST arranged for additional buses. "Normally, we ply 3,200 buses on Sundays but this Sunday we added services in areas such as Mumbai Central, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus and Kurla," a spokesperson said.

There were stray incidents of stone-pelting on Saturday and Sunday. "There have been 11 stone-pelting incidents since Saturday evening, including at Agar Bazar and LBS Marg in Mulund on Sunday," a police spokesperson said.

Traffic was diverted at various junctions and motorists were told to avoid Western Express Highway between Santacruz and Kalanagar.

From noon to around 9 pm, roads around Sena Bhavan were cordoned off and traffic was diverted through Tilak bridge to Dadar TT.

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