As it happened: Mumbai returns to normal after Thackeray’s health improves

by Nov 15, 2012

6:00 pm: Situation calm in Mumbai

After a tense morning, traffic has largely returned to normal around Mumbai. All modes of public transport are largely operating unaffected. Taxis and autorickshaws are largely operational and with Thackeray's condition said to be stable, the situation is largely peaceful across the city.

With shops shut across Mumbai earlier today, Firstpost decided to crowdsource data to check what's open in the city and what's not so that you can make informed decisions in Mumbai accordingly.

Read the complete list of locations here

5:25 pm: Pakistan Cricket Board also sends Thackeray a 'get well soon' message

The Shiv Sena chief may be strongly opposed to the planned cricket series between India and Pakistan. The Pakistan Cricket Board chief has reportedly sent his best wishes to the right wing leader hoping he recovered soon. Here's the report.

The Kapoor brothers, Rishi, Randhir and Rajiv, have also gone into Matoshree, joining the ever extending list of celebirities visiting the Thackeray residence.

5:00 pm: Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan reaches Matoshree

Everyone who's anyone in Mumbai and has had an association with the Thackerays has visited Matoshree to visit the ailing Bal Thackeray. Few managed to meet anyone beyond Shiv Sena party leaders and they then left.

Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has now made his way to Matoshree and is meeting with senior Shiv Sena leaders there, Times Now reported.

However, the guest list so far has been long.

Apart from megastar Amitabh Bachchan, who visited the Thackerays last night, actor Salman Khan with father Salim and brother Arbaaz called on the family this afternoon.

Actor-filmmaker Mahesh Manjrekar, Madhur Bhandarkar, Nana Patekar, Manoj Kumar, industrialists Rahul Bajaj and Venugopal Dhoot, BJP President Nitin Gadkari, Leader of Opposition in Legislative Council Vinod Tawde were prominent among those who visited the Thackerays, reported PTI.

Here's some photos of those who visited the ailing Shiv Sena chief today.

4.27 pm: Shiv Sena positive but Bollywood shuts

Although the latest update from the Shiv Sena has given the crowds cause for relief, the Bollywood industry decided to cease filming out of concern for the ailing Bal Thackeray. According to this report by Zee News, "As per reports, film as well as TV serial shooting has been suspended at most studios. Many artists have also voluntarily decided to stay away from work."

4.03 pm: Latest update says Thackeray improving steadily

Shiv Sena's Subhash Desai comes out of Matoshree to give the assembled crowds and media personnel a much awaited medical update. "His condition is improving steadily.The improvement of Shiv Sena pramukh's health is a result of the prayers for him and we hope he will be in better condition soon", he says.

Davaai ke saath dua ka bhi asar ho raha hai (Along with medicines, the good wishes are also helping his health), he added.

Desai added that Thackeray was not in a condition to meet too many people, and only seen very few people, saying that leaders from various parties were meeting with Uddhav Thackeray to express their support in his time of need.

3.37 pm: Salman Khan's bodyguard gets into scuffle outside Matoshree

Salman Khan's personal bodyguard Shera was involved in a minor scuffle with cops on duty near Matoshree, according to this report by Rediff.  The Bollywood superstar visited the Shiv Sena supremo for about twenty minutes with his father and brother.

2.55 pm: Why is Mumbai shutting down? 

As Mumbai shutters its shops and empties its roads, the question that has been sporadically making the rounds is "Why is the country's financial capital shutting down over the rumours of the death of just one man?" Firstposteditor Anant Rangaswami explains,

"To people bemused by the thought of a city shutting down and the police forces being placed on high alert, it’s probably caused by the history of the passing away of leaders in India with a cult, fanatical following and the aftermath in recent incidents. It’s not just any leader. Personalities like MG Ramachandran and Karnataka actor Rajkumar, represented the hopes and aspirations of their supporters and fans. As a consequence, the deaths of these two were treated as personal losses by, literally, millions of followers. Individuals who gather together form a ‘mob’ and this is the trigger for the violence – because the individual is ‘de-individualised’.“De-individuation obviously does not occur every time people get together in a group, and there are some group characteristics that increase the likelihood of violence, such as group size and physical anonymity. First, many people believe they cannot be held responsible for violent behavior when part of a mob because they perceive the violent action as the group’s (e.g., “everyone was doing it”) rather than their own behavior. When in a large group, people tend to experience a diffusion of responsibility. Typically, the bigger a mob, the more its members lose self-awareness and become willing to engage in dangerous behavior.  Second, physical anonymity also leads to a person experiencing fewer social inhibitions.  When people feel that their behavior cannot be traced back to them, they are more likely to break social norms and engage in violence,” says Tamara Avant. It is the possibility of this kind of behaviour which is causing the government and the police forces to be extra cautious in dealing with the millions of individuals who will want to mourn the death of Thackeray – and the moment they converge, they will become deindividualised.

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2.45 pm: Salman Khan at Matoshree Bollywood star Salman Khan is the latest high profile visitor to Matoshree in the wake of Thackeray's declining health, arriving there a little after BJP President Nitin Gadkari. Thackeray has already received high profile visitors like Sharad Pawar and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as a steady stream of Shiv Sena and MNS leaders. However media reports indicate that all these visitors have not actually met the ailing Sena leader, and have instead been interacting with his family.

2.30 pm: Maharashtra CM reviewing law and order situation Maharashtra Chief Minister Pritiviraj Chavan has met with senior law enforcement officials to discuss and review the law and order situation, even as crowds gather outside Bal Thackeray's residence Matoshree waiting for an update on his health. Despite official statements that the Shiv Sena patriarch is in stable condition, Mumbai is in a state of semi shut down, with shop keepers shuttering their establishments and cabs refusing to ply in several areas. There have also been several reported incidents of Shiv Sena party workers forcing shops to shut down in several Mumbai suburbs. The DNA newspaper reported that party cadres were forcing shutdowns in  Vakola, Shivaji Nagar, Chembur, New Bombay, Andheri, Parel, Dadar, Matunga and other parts of the city where the Shiv Sena has substantial support.

2.12 pm: Thackeray receives more visitors as media waits for official statement The steady stream of visitors to Bal Thackeray's residence Matoshree continues, even as media and the public wait for an official health update. Ramdas Athavale of the RPI party was the latest VIP visitor to Matoshree to check on Thackeray. Athavale is in a political alliance with the Shiv Sena. BJP President Nitin Gadkari is also reportedly on his way. Thackeray has already received high profile visitors like Sharad Pawar and Amitabh Bachchan, as well as a steady stream of Shiv Sena and MNS leaders. However media reports indicate that all these visitors have not actually met the ailing Sena leader, and have instead been interacting with his family. The last update on the Shiv Sena patriarch's health came at around noon via Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Rau who said that his health was 'improving'. A fresh medical update is expected at around 3pm.

2.04 pm: Lata Mangeshkar postpones music function in view of Thackeray's health: Legendary playback singer Lata Mangeshkar today expressed concern over Sena chief Bal Thackeray‘s ailing health and re-scheduled a music event. “I am extremely disturbed and concerned about the critical health of Shri Balasaaheb Thackeray, who is like a family member to me. My prayers are with Balasaaheb and the entire Thackeray family,” Mangeshkar wrote on Twitter. “In view of this, I am postponing the function of my music company to a later date,” Mangeshkar said. The event was scheduled for 18 November. (Read more)

1.20 pm:  Shiv sainiks force shutdowns in several Mumbai suburbs Although the official word on the health of Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray is positive, Shiv Sena party workers are reportedly forcing shops to shut down in several Mumbai suburbs. The DNA newspaper reported that party cadres were forcing shutdowns in  Vakola, Shivaji Nagar, Chembur, New Bombay, Andheri, Parel, Dadar, Matunga and other parts of the city where the Shiv Sena has substantial support. Reports from across Mumbai also indicate that other shopkeepers have voluntarily shut up shop, and that taxi cabs are refusing to ply.

12:30 pm: Sharad Pawar reaches Matoshree NCP chief Sharad Pawar has reportedly reached Matoshree to meet with Bal Thackeray, reports ANI.

12:10 pm: Raj Thackeray returns to Matoshree Raj Thackeray has returned to Matoshree after going home earlier this morning. According to IBN Lokmat, a health bulletin could be expected in the next couple of hours. They believe a senior Shiv Sena leader or one of his doctors could give a health update.

Bal Thackeray remains in critical condition. PTI.

12:05 pm: Shops remain shut in central Mumbai, Sena strongholds Despite the Shiv Sena's health said to be improving, shops in many parts of the country's financial capital remained shut as they preferred not to take any chances. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut continued to maintain that Thackeray's health has improved since yesterday. "There has been a good response to treatment..." Raut told Times Now. "He has had no requirement of life support systems now. He is ok now. He just needs rest. The doctors are doing their work," Raut said. He also appealed to Shiv Sainiks from across the state who were planning to travel to the city from other parts of the state not to do so since Thackeray was still stable. "There is no danger to Balasaheb's health as of now," he said.

11:25 am: India Against Corruption calls off protest in Mumbai India Against Corruption which was planning a protest march in the city but has reportedly called it off in order to prevent straining the already stretched law and order machinery. https://twitter.com/soupiesingh/status/268953300462866433 And here are some good wishes from an unexpected source: https://twitter.com/ANI_news/status/268956707978366977

11:00 am: Uddhav Thackeray could give an update on his father's condition in some time Senior Shiv Sena leaders like Manohar Joshi and Neelam Gorhe who had visited Matoshree have left without making any comment on Thackeray's condition. IBN Lokmat reported Neelam Gorhe as saying that Uddhav Thackeray will give an update on his father's condition in some time.  The channel reported that there is still no leader in the party who will give updates on Thackeray's health and a doctor from the medical team attending to him might also give an update.

10:50 am: Situation remains grim outside Matoshree The crowds have continued to grow outside the Thackeray's residence 'Matoshree' in suburban Bandra despite the high police presence. IBN Lokmat reports that the mood outside the Thackeray residence is sombre with all Diwali related decorations removed. Loud speakers have been installed near the building's gates to allow leaders to address the waiting crowds and media outside. BJP's Gopinath Munde who had visited the ailing leader this morning said that he had seen the Shiv Sena leader this morning and Thackeray's condition was fine.

10: 35 am: Thackeray has responded in a miraculous manner to treatment Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has said that Bal Thackeray's condition is presently stable and he has responded in a miraculous manner to treatment being administered to him. He also appealed for calm among Shiv Sena activists, some of whom damaged a vehicle belonging to a television channel. "The concern you are showing for the Shiv Sena pramukh will definitely help him and doctors are continuing to provide him with treatment," Raut said to IBN Lokmat. He said that the Shiv Sena chief was receiving the best possible treatment. His condition is now stable and doctors have said it is 'miraculous' the manner in which the party president has responded to the treatment and his condition has improved, Raut told the channel.

10:25 am: No update on Thackeray's condition There has been no update on the Shiv Sena chief's health since the last update given last night by his son Uddhav at Matoshree. Raj Thackeray, who had been at Matoshree, has reportedly left for home.

9:45 am: People take to Twitter to describe situation in Mumbai As the city's transport facilities preferred to stay off the streets, Mumbaikars took to Twitter to give updates about the situation on the street. Here are some of them:

9:10 am: High police presence throughout the city, Gopinath Munde reaches Matoshree

The city police aren't taking any chances and are present in large numbers throughout the city. Rapid Action Force personnel have been deployed around Matoshree and other sensitive areas as the administration attempted to keep a grip on the situation in the city. The Times of India reported that the entire state has been put on high alert after Thackeray's health deteriorated. The newspaper reported that a wireless message had been sent to all senior police officials to deploy all necessary forces. "Ensure that adequate police force is deployed in your jurisdiction and if someone is taking the law into his hand or creating communal tension, deal with them with an iron hand," the message said according to an unnamed IPS official. The Chief Minister has also met with the Chief Secretary, DGP Sanjeev Dayal, Mumbai police commissioner Satyaprakash Singh and high ranking officials. Meanwhile at Matoshree, which has been turned into a fortress by police personnel, an uneasy calm prevails as leaders continue to make a beeline to see the Sena supremo.

9:00 am: Mumbai shuts down Fearing the worst after isolated incidents of violence last night, Mumbai has downed its shutters as it prepares for the worst. Shops did not open since morning. Trains remained largely empty as many office goers could not make it to the train stations as other modes of public transport chose to stay off the roads. Auto rickshaws in the suburbs and taxis in the island city preferred to stay off the road as they assessed the situation. The unions had not called for the vehicles to stay off the road but vehicle drivers preferred not to take chances. Most office goers relied on private transport to get to their places of work. Many offices even advised employees to work out of home. Here's a snapshot of what trains looked like at peak hour this morning:

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8:45 am: Thackeray continues to remain critical, Bachchan and media manhandled

Shiv Sena leader Bal Thackeray remains in "very critical" condition early on Thursday, even after he was put on life-support system. At 2 am on Thursday, his son Uddhav told supporters, who had thronged outside their residence 'Matoshree', to pray and remain hopeful. Eyewitnesses said at 5 am on Thursday that it was quiet around Matoshree.

But overnight, sporadic incidents of violence were reported outside Matoshree, as Shiv Sena supporters physically targeted assembled media crews and called them "vultures". An OB van of TV Today was vandalised outside Matoshree, and the TV camera was smashed, according to Headlines Today channel anchor Rahul Kanwal. Even cine star Amitabh Bachchan, who was among the first to rush to Matoshree, to enquire about Thackeray's well-being , was injured in the melee, after an angry crowd gathered around Matoshree. Bachchan, who had appealed to the crowd to remain calm, was roughed up by an angry group, which had become quite emotional after news about Thackeray's deteriorating health spread, according to reports by wire services. Bachchan said on Twitter that he and his son Abhishek Bachchan had been injured, and had suffered cuts, but that they were fine and back home. Doctors at Matoshree had attended to their injuries, he said. Bachchan also reminisced on Twitter about his association with Thackeray over the years, noting that when he and Jaya Bachchan were married, Thackeray called them to his house, and performed rituals befitting a "bahu coming home". And from that day on, he always treated us as family, he added. Bachchan recalled that when he himself was in hospital with a grave condition following the accident on the sets of Coolie, Thackeray visited him in hospital, with a cartoon he had drawn, depicting Bachchan as having defeated Yamaraj, the god of death. "Wish I was as proficient a cartoonist as he, for tonight I would wish to draw that for him!" Bachchan noted. At the height of the Bofors kickback allegations, in which Amitabh Bachchan's name was dragged in by politically motivated players, Thackeray asked him if he (Bachchan) was involved in any way in the scandal. "When I said 'NO!', he said, 'Don't worry, I am with you. You are an actor, go do what you are best at'." Earlier reports on Bal Thackeray's condition.

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