Demonstrators from India´s lowest caste blocked roads and railways across Mumbai on Wednesday in protest against violence involving Hindu nationalist groups at an event commemorating a 200-year-old battle.
Members of the Dalit community obstructed roads, damaged buses and marched down railway tracks, delaying train services which are the lifeline of India´s bustling financial capital.
Some schools and business opted to close as a precaution while the city´s famous lunchbox delivery men, called “Dabbawalas”, also cancelled their services.
The protests came in response to violence which broke out at a ceremony in a village near Pune in Maharashtra state on Monday, leaving one man dead.
Dalits had gathered to celebrate the anniversary of the Bhima-Koregaon battle in 1818, in which they helped British colonial forces defeat the high-caste Peshwas.
Dailt leaders accused right-wing Hindus of inciting Monday´s clashes, which spread to other areas of Maharashtra of which Mumbai is the capital.
The state government has ordered a judicial inquiry into the clashes.
Mumbai police said more than 100 demonstrators had been arrested and nine cases of unlawful activity had been registered.
On Wednesday politicians called for a peaceful end to the violence.
“There is an attempt to create a social divide which we have to foil unitedly,” said Neelam Gorhe, a leader of the right-wing Hindu party Shiv Sena.