Train Services Hit as Farmers Hold 'Rail Roko' Protests Over Lakhimpur Unrest

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha has demanded the dismissal and arrest of Union Minister Home Ajay Misra.

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More than 290 trains were reportedly affected and over 40 trains cancelled in several parts of the country as the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) conducted its nationwide 'Rail Roko' protests on Monday, 18 October, in order to demand the dismissal and arrest of Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Ajay Misra, in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri unrest of 3 October, PTI reported.

"Rail Roko agitation was fine. We will make a programme for our further strategy. Until Teni (MoS MHA Ajay Mishra Teni) is arrested and he resigns, we'll continue putting forth our views. He is an accused u/s 120(B) of IPC, he can't roam out in the open," Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait was quoted as saying by ANI.

"He will influence the investigation because the case is against him, so he will try to save himself. Government of India should take his resignation. If he is proven innocent then they can make him a minister again."
Rakesh Tikait

SKM Leaders Allegedly Detained and Arrsted During Protest

Meanwhile, SKM said that some of their leaders were "detained and arrested at several places" during the protest, which saw the participation of thousands of farmers.

"In Uttar Pradesh, there were many detention of farmer leaders at numerous places by the UP Police. In Madhya Pradesh, the police arrested protestors at several places like Guna, Gwalior, Rewa, Bamaniya (in Jhabua), and other places," the SKM claimed in a statement.

The chief public relation officer (CPRO) of the Northern Railway zone said that the six-hour rail roko protest on Monday affected 130 locations in the Northern Railway zone and hindered the running of 50 trains, reported The Indian Express.

“The affected locations are mostly in Ferozepur division in Punjab and Ambala division in Haryana. The Moradabad and Lucknow divisions in Uttar Pradesh are normal,” he said.

What Happened During the Day

As the agitation began on Monday morning, protestors collectively sat on the railway track at Devi Dasspura village in Amritsar, in order to obstruct train movement.

In Haryana, protestors blocked railway tracks at Bahadurgarh. Similarly, in Bihar, protesters sat on the rail lines at Vaishali the Lalganj railway station in Bihar's Vaishali district.

Protestors sit on a railway track in Bihar's Vaishali.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

Members of various farmers' organizations block railway tracks at Patiala.

(Photo: PTI)

Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

Fatehabad, Haryana.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)

Ajarka railway station, Rajasthan.

(Photo: Accessed by The Quint)


UP, Haryana Police on Alert

The Lucknow police on Monday had said that it will take action against those who participate in the Rail Roko Andolan, and warned that the National Security Act will be used to punish those who disrupt public order.

"Police to take action against those who will participate in the 'Rail Roko Andolan' called by farmers organization. 144 CrPC is also imposed in the district and will impose NSA if anyone tries to disrupt normalcy," ANI quoted Lucknow Police as saying.

"No train has been stopped so far. The police administration is holding talks with farmers. As a precautionary measure, we have deployed around 160 PAC companies and nine para-military companies. Officers have been sent to important and sensitive districts," UP ADG (Law & Order), Prashant Kumar, said on Monday.

The Rapid Action Force (RAF) was deployed at the Sonipat Railway Station in Haryana, in the wake of the protest.

Harendra Singh, Delhi DCP (Railways), said that there have been no reports of disturbance so far.

"Government Railway Police (GRP) is patrolling all railway stations and tracks. Till now, there are no reports of disturbance at any railway tracks or cancellation of trains. We are working in close coordination with the GRP of neighbouring states," he told ANI.

SKM, the umbrella body of farmers' unions that is spearheading the protests against the Centre's contentious agricultural laws, had said that it will be stopping all train traffic 10 am till 4 pm on Monday.


Lakhimpur Unrest

Eight persons, including four farmers, were reported dead in Uttar Pradesh's Lakhimpur on 3 October.

Unrest had ensued in the area after three protesting farmers had allegedly been run over by a convoy of cars, one of which was allegedly being driven by Union Minister Ajay Teni Misra's son.

Union Minister Misra's son, Ashish Misra, had been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police after interrogation on 9 October.

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