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Shutdown begins in Maharashtra amid violence

Mumbai, July 5 (IANS) The shutdown by opposition parties to protest price hike began in Maharashtra Monday amid stray incidents of violence in Mumbai and other parts of the state, officials said.

Schools, colleges, many private offices remained closed, but the city’s lifeline – suburban trains and BEST – were partially affected as attempts were made to stop their operations in different parts, mainly by suspected Shiv Sena activists.

Taxis and most autorickshaws remained off roads, more as a precautionary measure against damage from hooliganism than in support of the shutdown call.

In Pune, at least 12 public buses were torched by unknown activists and two buses were damaged in Nashik, a police officer said.

Similarly, some trains like the Sinhagad Express, near Pune, and the Vidarbha Express near Amravati were stopped, a railway official said.

Miscreants put some burning cardboards on the railway tracks near Thane while Shiv Sainiks stopped the suburban trains outside Borivli.

Elsewhere in Thane, activists resorted to stone-pelting which damaged at least six public buses and five autorickshaws, the police officer said.

At Mulund station, attempts were made by some party activists to stop suburban trains, but the security officials foiled their plan and detained 50 people.

Police maintained vigil all over Mumbai, Thane and other parts of the state as the shutdown started here.

Most tea stalls and other allied services remained closed.

Over 1,000 activists of different political parties were detained in Mumbai while more than 5,000 were held across the state, police said.

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