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Bandh in Navi Mumbai over clash

Prachi Pinglay

MUMBAI: A bandh was called in Navi Mumbai on Friday, a day after violence broke out between residents of Ghansoli village and mathadi (head load) workers that left three dead and 70 injured. All shops remained closed.

The situation remained tense in Ghansoli, about 60 km from here. Police held a meeting with residents and promised them adequate security.

Police personnel from neighbouring areas have been deployed. The Rapid Action Force continued to guard the area where Thursday's police firing took place. One police van will be stationed inside the village and one each on the periphery.

The township, with a total population of over 40,000, comprises locals and mathadi settlers. Both groups blame the other for the clash. An alleged eve-teasing incident on Holi day sparked it. Strong crowds gathered on both sides of the Simplex colony and pelted stones. Police resorted to firing after teargas failed to disperse the crowds.

During the meeting, villagers expressed dissatisfaction with media coverage of the incident, which portrayed them as a violent group.

The villagers demanded action against the police who opened fire.

Although prohibitory orders were in force, groups armed with lathis and iron rods were seen moving around. All public transport was affected, and no bus or auto rickshaw could enter Ghansoli.

The villagers said Thursday's incident was a stray one and they had nothing against the mathadis.

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