A couple of hours after the death of Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray, it seemed as if the city was folding up in tribute. In several parts of the city, shops downed shutters and road traffic started thinning.
Railway officials said that but for a stray incident of stone-pelting in Govandi, the evening was peaceful. However, railway police officials said this held up trains for around 10 minutes.
The autorickshaw and taxi stands across the city were lined with parked vehicles leaving lakhs of people to depend on BEST buses. By late evening, several taxis and rickshaws had shut down with less than 10% plying the streets, said a union leader.
Dadar-based taxi driver Vishal Singh said that , ferrying old people or even women generally doesn’t attract the ire of protesters as it can be explained as a humanitarian gesture.
BEST buses were packed to capacity and bus stops across the city saw massive crowds. “I had come shopping and and I get a call from my family that I should return immediately. I couldn’t get a rickshaw. Finally, my friend had to come and take me home,” said Mulund resident Smita Mudaliar, who had just stepped out of a mall on Mulund’s LBS marg.
“The crowds could’ve been worse... if it were early afternoon,” said a senior WR Railway official, adding that the Saturday rush hour had already got home by that time.