After almost a week of violence and tension, just when the dust was settling and peace was returning to the city, fresh incidents of violence were reported in parts of Pune and Pimpri-Chinchwad on Sunday after some derogatory post regarding Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar was uploaded on social networking sites.
As many as 18 Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Limited (PMPML) buses were damaged as Sinhagad road, Dandekar bridge, Bhatnagar as well as some other places saw stone-pelting incidents during the afternoon hours.
Last week, the city had witnessed violence after some miscreants uploaded derogatory posts regarding Shivaji Maharaj and Bal Thackeray on social networking sites.
Around 1,300 PMPML buses operate on a daily basis. However, on Sunday, after stone-pelting was reported, only 700 buses were plying. Stone-pelting was first reported in the Bhatnagar area of Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) where PMPML buses were targeted.
Another PMPML bus was damaged in the Gandhinagar area. The driver of the bus, Shrinivas Dhamdhere, sustained injuries. In a similar incident in Ajmera colony, a private bus was damaged.
Not just the local public transport but the state transport bus service too was affected due to the violence on Sunday. Ramesh Sawant, manager, Swargate depot of Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC), said, “A total of 22 state transport buses going towards Pandharpur, Akola and Phaltan were cancelled as Baramati and its surrounding areas were tension-filled and agitators blocked roads in the morning.
According to Walchand Nagar police, private transport had resumed by 5pm but the ST buses remained off road.
Since 2010, Pune has seen 481 buses damaged during various agitations and protests. This has resulted in a loss of Rs1.75 crore. However, this money has not been recovered from the groups or the people who have been responsible for the incidents.