Trains Stopped at Many Places Amid Farmers’ ‘Rail Roko’ Agitation
In light of the protest, there has been additional deployment of Delhi Police personnel at Nangloi railway station.
Farmers who have been protesting at Delhi’s borders for months to repeal the three farm laws are holding a four-hour nationwide ‘rail roko’ protest, spearheaded by Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) between 12 pm and 4 pm on Thursday, 18 February.
Trains have been stopped at the Sawai Madhopur railway station in Rajasthan due to the farmers’ protest on railway tracks, The Hindu reported. Farmers have gathered at Jaipur, Jagatpura, Alwar railway stations, and have also blocked railway tracks in Palwal, ANI reported.
Farmers blocked railway tracks in Ambala, Fatehgarh Sahib, Patiala, Ludhiana, Lalru station, Mohali, Kharar railways, and at more than 40 spots in Ferozepur railway division in Punjab, added the report. Trains from Jaipur-Delhi, Jaipur-Ajmer, and Jaipur-Rewari will be affected by the rail roko protests.
Twenty-five trains all across Northern Railway have been regulated as the agitation took off, reported IANS. Meanwhile, the Railway Protection Force (RPF) has stepped up security measures and deployed 20 additional companies across Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Punjab, and Haryana to prevent any untoward incident.
A large number of women are also participating in the protests. Jammu and Kashmir region saw farmers under the aegis of United-Kissan Front joining the rail roko protest at Channi Himat area, noted Times of India.
Train services will resume once the protest ends and the railway tracks are vacated, after 4pm.
Bharatiya Kisan Union’s Rakesh Tikait said to ANI that the demonstration will be a peaceful one, and any stranded passengers will be given water, beverages, and fruits.
“We will welcome trains and passengers with flower garlands. We have intensified the campaign to keep farmers active on social media,” said Kisan Andolan Committee spokesperson Jagtar Singh Bajwa to ANI, adding that the farmers have been asked to create social media profiles.
In light of the agitation, ANI reported that there has been additional deployment of Delhi police personnel at Nangloi railway station, as well as in Haryana’s Palwal railway station and Ghaziabad Junction in Uttar Pradesh.
Tikri Border, Pandit Shree Ram Sharma, Bahadurgarh City, and Brig Hoshiar Singh metro stations have been closed, announced the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation. The Railways officials are expecting most agitations to be in Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh, reported PTI.
On Wednesday, 17 February, Director General, Railway Protection Force, Arun Kumar said that 20 additional companies of RPSF troops have been deployed for the Thursday protest, across the states of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal, reported PTI.
Kumar appealed to all to maintain peace, and added, “We will be liaising with district administrations and will have a control room in place,” quoted PTI.
Kumar added that so far, the Kisaan Andolan in UP is peaceful. He said, “Neither any law and order situation reported nor 'rail roko' agitation anywhere. We're ensuring that no anti-social elements in the garb of farmers ruin the peaceful protest. Police are instructed to take strict action against them,” quoted ANI.
So far, no officials have announced a decision on train movement in the country in the backdrop of the rail blockade. “Once we get a better picture of the status of the protests and have identified sensitive spots, we will put in place a plan of action. We have around 80 trains that run through potentially sensitive areas and most of them would have passed through them before 12 pm," an official said to PTI.
Spearheaded by SKM
A day ahead of the protests, SKM, a body of farmer unions accused the BJP-led Centre of “counter and destroy” the demonstrations instead of trying to resolve the farmers’ issues.
The 18 February rail roko protest was announced by the farmer group in a bid to escalate the protest against the Centre’s three agriculture laws.
Earlier this month, the farmer unions had organised a three-hour chakka jam (road blockade) to display their resistance towards the contentious laws.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting against the agriculture laws for over 75 days. While the government has expressed possibility for amendments and given a 1.5-year stay on the laws, the farmer bodies have been agitating for their complete revocation.
(With inputs from ANI, IANS and PTI.)
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