Over 100 Trains Affected, 9 Services Cancelled In Bharat Bandh Aftermath

The railways cancelled the Amritsar-Jaynagar Saryu Yamuna Express, New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express scheduled to have run today.

Over 100 Trains Affected, 9 Services Cancelled In Bharat Bandh Aftermath

Bharat Bandh: Over 100 passenger trains were affected, with 9 cancelled. (PTI)

New Delhi:  Over 100 passenger and mail train services were today affected, nine were cancelled and a few more short-terminated as the Dalit agitation over the alleged dilution of the SC/ST Act escalated in several states, officials said.

Of the nine train services cancelled, five were scheduled to have run today.

As the protesters squatted on the tracks, hurled stones at the trains and wreaked havoc on the platforms, the railways cancelled the Amritsar-Jaynagar Saryu Yamuna Express, New Delhi-Amritsar Shatabdi Express, Jaipur-Chandigarh Intercity Express, Ajmer-New Delhi Shatabdi Express and the Sealdah-Varanasi Express, scheduled to have run today.

The national transporter also cancelled three trains -- the Amritsar-New Delhi Shatabdi Express, the Amritsar-Chandigarh Superfast Express and the Chandigarh-Jaipur Intercity Express -- which were scheduled to run tomorrow, along with the Jaynagar-Amritsar Shaheed Express, scheduled to run on April 4.

The railways also short-terminated and partially cancelled 17 trains scheduled for today and tomorrow, including the New Delhi-Amritsar-New Delhi Swaran Shatabdi Express and the New Delhi-Ajmer Shatabdi Express.

Passengers, stuck for hours onboard trains in Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh, tweeted to the railway ministry about the violence on platforms, stone-pelting and the lack of amenities in the trains. Some even said the tracks were uprooted in certain areas by the agitators, which the railways did not confirm.

Some passengers onboard the Kota Jan Shatabdi Express were injured when the protesters went on a rampage at the Faridabad New Town Railway Station.

"There were some incidents of gathering of agitators at Firozpur, Hapur, Moradabad, Ghaziabad yard (Gaushala), but there was no damage to railway property. Stray incidents of stone-pelting were reported from one or two places, but no passenger or railway personnel was hurt," Nitin Chowdhury, Spokesperson, Northern Railways said, adding that the 0ther trains were run as and when the situation was brought under control by the civil administration.

The protesters blocked rail and road traffic and resorted to violence in Rajasthan, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Delhi.

The railways said across its zones, the protesters started gathering at the rail yards since early morning. The services were disrupted when a mob arrived at the Ghaziabad yard around 10 am, Northern Railway officials said.

Many trains, including the Saptakranti Express, Utkal Express, Gatiman Express, Bhubaneswar and Ranchi Rajdhani and Kanpur Shatabdi, were stopped ahead of Ghaziabad at Meerut and Modinagar, Northern Railway officials said.

A mob of about 2,000 people disrupted the train services at the Hapur station as well, they added.

In the Agra Division, around 28 trains were delayed, including a Shatabdi and the Gatiman Express.

At the Ferozpur yard, a mob of about 150 people arrived at 8:30 am, resulting in disruption in the movement of trains. Another mob of around 200 people disrupted the services in the Amritsar-Ludhiana section.

The routes, officials said, were cleared of the protesters and the trains resumed their journey after a brief delay.

Around 43 trains were affected in the East Central Railways (ECR) because of the protests, which started as early as 5:10 am in the Dhanbad division. In Bihar, the protesters stormed the Patna Junction railway station, forcibly closed down the ticket booking counters and squatted on the tracks.

In the East Coast Railway (ECoR), around four train services were disrupted, with the protesters squatting in the Sambalpur and Khurda Road divisions at 5:15 am.

Across the North Eastern Railway (NER), South Eastern Railway (SER) and Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), around 18 train services were disrupted. The trains resumed their journey after 9:30 am.

Several Dalit organisations had called for a "Bharat bandh" today to express their concerns over the "dilution" of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act.

The Supreme Court had, on March 20, diluted the provisions of the Act and said government servants should not be arrested without prior sanction and private citizens, too, should be arrested only after an inquiry under the law.

Dalit organisations, including the Dalit Shoshan Mukti Manch, and some political parties fear that the "dilution" of the provisions of the Act may lead to increase in violence against the backward community.

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