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Kurmis in West Bengal Block Trains, Demand Scheduled Tribe Status

Protesters have also demanded that the Kurmali language be included in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

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Train services of the South Eastern Railway (SER) were partially impacted on Wednesday, 21 September, as members of the Kurmi community continued to block tracks at two stations in West Bengal to demand Scheduled Tribe (ST) status.

The protests at Paschim Medinipur's Khemasuli and Purulia's Kustaur had begun at 4 am on Tuesday and continued on Wednesday.

As a result of the protests, 53 trains have been cancelled and 33 trains have been short terminated, the Indian Railways said as reported by news agency ANI.

Earlier, protesters had also blocked railways in Jungle Mahal districts of the state, but ended their blockade by Tuesday evening.

Apart from the ST status, protesters have also demanded that the Kurmali language be included in the eight schedule of the Constitution.

The blockades had led to cancellations, diversions and short-termination of several express and passenger trains since they began, an SER official said, as per news agency PTI.

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'Kurmis Removed From ST List After Independence for Unknown Reasons'

On Tuesday, the SER had cancelled 24 trains, diverted 20 and short-terminated 14. Several trains were also rescheduled.

Apart from West Bengal, protests by Kurmis were also held in Odisha and Jharkhand.

"We were supposed to have been designated as the ST shortly after the Independence, but that has never happened. We demand that our community and language are given their due," WB committee president of the organisation Rajesh Mahata said, as per The Telegraph.

While they were included in the Other Backward Classes (OBC) category, they have asserted their right on facilities provided to STs as well.

(With inputs from PTI, ANI, and The Telegraph.)

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Topics:  West Bengal 

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