Eastern Railway cancels 29 trains, deploys more RPF men
There was no let-up in the protests against the Centre’s recently launched military recruitment scheme – Agnipath – as protesters continued to block railway tracks in several parts of West Bengal on Sunday.
With the protests also going on in several parts of the country, the Eastern Railway cancelled or rescheduled several trains connecting Kolkata and other places in West Bengal with northern parts of the country, including the Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express.
A total of 29 trains, including the Poorva Express, Howrah-Kalka Netaji Express, Kolkata-Amritsar Express, Yog Nagari Rishikesh Doon Express, Sealdah-Jaynagar Gangasagar Express, Kolkata-Gorakhpur Purvanchal Express, Asansol-Gaya Express, Asansol-Varanasi Express, Howrah-Joynagar Express and Malda Town-Patna Express have been cancelled for the day, an official of the Eastern Railway said.
Among the trains which were rescheduled were Kolkata-Jammu Tawai Express, Howrah-New Delhi Purba Express, Howrah-New Delhi Rajdhani Express and Howrah-Dehradun Kumbh Express.
Earlier in the day, army aspirants staged a protest at Serampore railway station and blocked the rail tracks of the Howrah-Burdwan rail line in Hooghly district. Several trains got stuck at different stations due to the blockade. Many passengers were left stranded at Howrah station, one of the busiest railway junctions in the country.
Demanding a rollback of Agnipath scheme, the protesters called it an anti-youth scheme and burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
TMC Lok Sabha member from Serampore, Kalyan Banerjee, hit out at the Narendra Modi government, accusing him of ruining the future of the youth. “All the policies and new schemes that Narendra Modi is introducing are ruining the future of youth. They will get a job for four years, what kind of planning is this? None of their policies benefits common people. But I don’t support violent protests,” said Banerjee.
The rail blockade was lifted following appeals and the intervention of the railway police.
“We are opposing the black law of the central government. The protest will escalate and we will do the agitation the way it is being done in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh from tomorrow (Monday). The railway tracks will be blocked if the central government does not listen to us. Not a single train from Bengal will go to Uttar Pradesh or Delhi. There should be no compromise with the Army for the sake of the country,” Deepak Singh, one of the protesters said.
Members of SFI, and DYFI also marched from Dakbanglo junction to Rampurhat Panchmatha junction in Birbhum district against the recruitment scheme.