Violence mars Maha CAA protests, 13 govt vehicles damaged



At least 13 government vehicles - including 12 MSRTC buses and a fire brigade truck - were stoned by miscreants as protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in different parts of the state on Friday turned violent, officials said.

There are no reports of injuries to anyone in these incidents, though police carried out a baton charge to disperse the crowds in Beed.

At least three buses of state-owned Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation, one with a few passengers on board, were pelted with stones, breaking their glass windows and damaging interiors, in Hingoli town and in Kalamnuri town.

In Beed and Nanded, nine stationery buses and the Beed bus depot was targeted by the stone pelters, while a fire truck was stoned in Parbhani and there were incidents of minor violence from other places.

In the Assembly, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray fervently appealed to the people to refrain from any violent activities during their rightful protests and "ensure that the fair image of Maharashtra is not sullied".

He urged the masses to protest, but not allow the matters to become violent and assured that no citizens would be affected nor their rights be affected in any manner.

Rushing to Beed, state Home Minister Eknath Shinde said all protestors are free to exercise their democratic rights to protest, but they should not indulge in violence activities or damaging government properties, which the organisers must ensure.

Earlier, thousands took to the streets in Nagpur, Pune's Pimpri-Chinchwad, Aurangabad, Thane's Ambernath and Bhiwandi, Sangli, Hingoli, Beed, Nanded, Jalna, Ahmednagar's Sangamner, Parbhani, Yavatmal, besides other towns to oppose the CAA-NRC.

Cutting across religious lines, thousands of youth and citizens besides several social organisations and local groups, joined the protests carrying banners, placards and posters, pictures of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, Shaheed Bhagat Singh, images of the Constitution, and demanded the scrapping of the CAA-NRC.

The protests, after similar agitations in Mumbai's IIT-B, TISS, University of Mumbai, Pune University, Wardha's Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya and other institutions, were supported by the ruling Shiv Sena, Nationalist Congress Party, Congress, and other parties, barring the right-wingers like the state opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and its allies.IANS