Barring stray incidents of stoning of the State-owned Kadamba Transport Corporation buses by miscreants and damage to a few school buses carrying students, the Goa bandh called by the Bharatiya Bhasha Suraksha Manch (BBSM) passed off peacefully on Monday.

The manch is a body spearheading protests against the Goa government's recent decision to allow state funding to English-medium primary schools. The bandh was backed by political parties such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Shiv Sena, and the Maharashtra Gomantak Party, which is part of the coalition government.

Several local socio-cultural organisations, which support the manch demand that the government maintain the status quo of grants only to primary schools with Indian languages as medium of instruction, participated in the bandh.

Inspector-General of Police Sundari Nanda told The Hindu on Monday that 58 instances of blocking of roads took place and police registered 22 cases.

Around 16 persons were arrested in different parts of the State for stoning buses and other unlawful acts.

Two government school buses were damaged in north Goa.

“Our efforts were aimed at keeping the roads open and to ensure that life remained normal,” said Ms. Nanda.

The protesters disrupted life in the State since morning with most markets and shops and establishments remaining shut.

Groups went around urging shop owners and others to close their establishments.

Schools, which re-opened on Monday for the new academic year, were the worst hit in major cities such as Mapusa, Panaji and Vasco.

Keywords: Goa bandh