Lakhimpur violence: Rail Roko protest derails life across Punjab

Train schedule goes off track I Passengers a harried lot

Lakhimpur violence: Rail Roko protest derails life across Punjab

Farmers block railway tracks during a protest in Ludhiana on Monday. Photo: Himanshu Mahajan

Tribune Reporters

Chandigarh/Bathinda, Oct 18

On the Samyukt Kisan Morcha’s (SKM) call, activists of various farmer unions today squatted on railway tracks from 10 am to 4 pm at several places across the state. Commuters had to bear the brunt of the Rail Roko agitation as trains did not run as per schedule. Most passengers were seen struggling to find other available transport options to reach their destinations.

Farmers block railway tracks during a protest Jalandhar on Monday. Photo: Sarabjit Singh

During their protests, union leaders, farmers, including women, raised slogans against the BJP-led central government and demanded the dismissal and arrest of Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra following his son’s alleged involvement in the Lakhimpur Kheri incident. They also asked the Centre to repeal three farm laws, Electricity Bill 2020 and the law of fine on farmers for burning straw. Farmers demanded minimum government fixed prices for all crops and guaranteed government procurement and supplying all required goods to the poor at free or cheap rates through the public distribution system. Farmer leaders also criticised the Centre government for high prices of diesel and petrol.

Worst-hit sections

  • Train services between New Delhi-Ludhiana, Ludhiana-Amritsar and Ludhiana-Jammu Tawi were adversely impacted. The rail traffic on Suratgarh-Bathinda, Sirsa-Bathinda, Hanumangarh-Bathinda and Hisar-Bathinda sections was also hit due to the agitation
  • In the Ferozepur Division, farmer union stopped trains at five different locations, including Ferozepur Cantt, Jalalabad, Moga and Ludhiana

In Bathinda, the Bhartiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) blocked the Bathinda-Ferozpur railway track at Goniana Mandi. Simialrly, union other leaders protested on the Bathinda-Delhi railway track at Rampura town and on Bathinda-Bikaner railway line at Pathrala village.

In Ferozepur district, members of BKU (Dakonda and Qadian Ekta), Kisan Majdoor Sangharsh Committee besides others held protests near Ferozepur city railway station, Ferozepur Cantt railway station and railway crossing near Ferozepur-Moga road.

In the morning, members of several farmer unions stopped trains at five different locations, including Ferozepur Cantonment, Jalalabad, Moga and Ludhiana. Farmers squatted on the railway tracks at Ferozepur Cantonment, Ajitwal in Moga, Guru Har Sahai in Ferozepur and Chauki Mann in Ludhiana, which affected the movement of trains. The farmers also staged a protest on the railway track near the silo of a private group at Dagru village in the Moga district.

As per the Divisional Railway Manager’s office, Ferozepur-Sri Ganganagar Express, Ferozepur-Fazilka Express Special, Fazilka-Ferozepur Express, Ferozepur-Ludhiana Express, Ferozepur-Chandigarh Express and Ganga Sutlej Express were halted. The rail traffic on Suratgarh-Bathinda, Sirsa-Bathinda, Hanumangarh-Bathinda, Hisar-Bathinda sections was also affected due to the agitation.

The Bathinda-Rewari special train and the Sirsa-Ludhiana special train remained cancelled. The train which departed from Ahmedabad on Saturday ran on the changed route via Rewari-Delhi-Pathankot to Vaishno Devi Katra, railway officials said. The New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express was halted near Shambu station as protesters blocked railway tracks near Sahnewal and Rajpura.

Meanwhile, farmers protested at five different places in Amritsar district and three different places in Tarn Taran districts. In Tarn Taran, the Railways has yet not resumed the services since the Covid outbreak last year. Farmers also squatted on railway tracks at three places in Muktsar district — Muktsar, Malout and Gidderbaha.

(With inputs from Ferozepur, Moga, Amritsar & Muktsar)

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