While the protest had begun on September 20 in West Bengal and neighbouring states, blockades were lifted from Jharkhand on the same day.
Kolkata: The protest to demand inclusion of Kurmali language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution and Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for Kurmis is showing no sign of fizzing out. Till Friday, at least 205 trains were cancelled in West Bengal after the sit-in on the tracks by the protesters entered the fourth day.
While the protest had begun on September 20 in West Bengal and neighbouring states, blockades were lifted from Jharkhand on the same day. Now, only two stations are being blocked by the agitators — Kustaur and Khemasuli under the South Eastern Railways division.
An official said, “The agitation is still underway at Kustaur and Khemasuli stations of South Eastern Railway. The normal train services remain severely affected in Adra and Kharagpur divisions.”
Apart from the 205 mail and express trains that were cancelled, 74 trains were short-terminated or short-originated, 89 diverted and four trains were rescheduled, the official added.
The official added that among the trains cancelled on Friday are the 12834 Howrah-Ahmedabad Express, 18005 Howrah-Jagdalpur Express and 18615/18616 Howrah-Hatia-Howrah Express.
There were reports of the protestors damaging railway properties, including trains. Taking to Twitter, BJP leader Tathagata Roy tweeted, “Apropos of the obstruction of rail and road by those demanding ST status for Kurmis,do all rights belong only to the agitators and none to the general public? It is time to legislate deterrent punishment for such obstruction; the general public have A RIGHT TO LIFE AS USUAL!”
Meanwhile, several passengers were inconvenienced and Twitter posts tagging the Prime Minister and the railway minister flooded the social media site. A user wrote, “@PMOIndia sir, we the people of Jamshedpur, JH are badly affected by the agitation going on by #Kurmi community. Roads & rail routes are blocked, it’s Navratri time and we are unable to reach our home.”
Another user wrote, “@narendramodi @PMOIndia @AshwiniVaishnaw sir how do we reach our hometowns? Roads are blocked, railways tracks blocked. Can’t we use force?? #Kurmi agitation in West Bengal.”