Maharashtra tense as Dalit groups call the state Bandh today, school buses off road in Mumbai, airplane companies waive cancellation charges

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The school buses will stay off roads in Mumbai and domestic carriers due to the Maharashtra bandh called by Dalit outfits to protest the violent clashes in Pune on Monday. The government-owned Air India also decided to surrender charges for ticket cancellations and no-show. It is cleared that Air India won’t charge any fee of ticketing or rescheduling of a journey to/from Mumbai on January 2 and 3. A senior airline official said that Air India has decided to abandon ticket cancellation/rescheduling charges for its flights to and from Mumbai for today.

The private carrier Jet Airways has also extended the waiver to its customers until today. The Jet Airways said in a statement last night that “Due to the ongoing unrest in Mumbai, Aurangabad, and Pune, Jet Airways has extended the waiver for travel date January 3, 2018. Hence, date/flight change, refund, no-show penalties and fare difference if any, are waived off on all the confirmed tickets issued for flights into/out of Mumbai, Pune, and Aurangabad for travel date January 3, 2018”. Another carrier Indigo said that it will be giving change and cancellation fee waiver for flights to/from Mumbai and also Pune for today and tomorrow.

The Schools Bus Owners’ Association (SBOA) said that it would not run its fleet of 40,000 buses today, giving security reasons. “For security reasons, we have decided not to ply our buses on the first shift tomorrow. If the situation remains peaceful, we will run the buses on the second shift,” the President of SBOA Anil Garg told PTI. He added that if a particular bus owner wanted to operate his services tomorrow, it would be his call. “Law-and-order is beyond our control. Therefore, we cannot take the risk,” Garg said. The Dalit groups have called a Maharashtra bandh to protest against the BJP-led state government’s “failure” to bar the violence in Pune.

During the 200th anniversary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in Pune district, clashes occurred between Dalit groups and supporters of right-wing Hindu organizations, a man lost his life in it. The police had said that clashes took place at Bhima-Koregaon when people were headed towards the war memorial in the city, which is about 300 km from Pune city.

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