Mumbai : Thousands of Muslims on Friday hit the roads in south Mumbai’s minority-dominated Bhendi Bazaar area, spontaneous shutdowns were observed in different parts of the city, and several groups and political parties protested against Thursday’s Pulwama terror attack which left close to 50 CRPF troopers dead.
Muslims led by leaders of several NGOs took out a procession on Mohammed Ali Road — south Mumbai’s trading hub — carrying the Indian Tricolour, banners, placards and raising anti-Pakistan and anti-terror slogans this afternoon.
The entire area observed a total shutdown and reverberated with slogans of “Pakistan Murdabad”, “LeT Murdabad”, “Down with Masood Azhar and Hafiz Saeed” and “JeM Murdabad” as thousands peacefully staged protest marches in Saifee Jubilee Street, Handiwala Mosque and Sunni Bilal Mosque here.
Earlier in the day, the Maharashtra government announced an ex-gratia of Rs 50 lakh to the families of two troopers from Maharashtra martyred in the Pulwama attacks.
“We have announced Rs 50 lakh for the kin of the martyred jawans and the Maharashtra government will take responsibility of their rehabilitation. 125 crore Indians are their family members,” Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said condemning the attack.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) units in Mumbai led by Raj Purohit, Ram Kadam and other leaders organised demonstrations in the city and suburbs against Pakistan and flayed the terror strikes.
Maharashtra Congress President Ashok Chavan and Mumbai Congress President Sanjay Nirupam organised a special condolence meeting at the party headquarters and other cities in the state condemning Pakistan and demanded strict action against the terror groups by India.
Both Chavan and Nirupam said the government must ensure that the sacrifices of the troopers do not go in vain and added that as per Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s statement, the party would fully support all endeavours of the government in this regard.
The Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists burnt Pakistan flags, the Nationalist Congress Party and others organised similar protests and demonstrations at various locations in Mumbai and other parts of the state.
National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally and Shiv Sena President Uddhav Thackeray demanded immediate retaliation and said the government should “hit back with full force”.
“Alliances, elections — all this can continue, but don’t spare Pakistan. Now a surgical strike is needed inside Pakistan. The entire country is united to give a befitting answer to the Jaish-e-Mohammed and teach a lesson to Pakistan it will never forget,” Thackeray said.
The Sena has also demanded convening a special Parliament session to discuss the Pulwama crisis and the future course of action.
The Bharat Diamond Bourse, Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council and Mumbai Diamond Merchants Association organised a joint condolence meeting for the martyred troopers at the BDB Complex in Bandra Kurla.
Many private and government offices arranged a two-minute silence to mourn the victims, and protests were held at major railway stations on the Mumbai suburban sector with lakhs of home-bound commuters joining to raise slogans in solidarity with the CRPF troopers.