Chandigarh: Several trains were delayed in Punjab today after Congress workers led by the party’s state unit chief Partap Singh Bajwa staged a ‘rail roko’ in several parts of the state, protesting against the “deteriorating” law and order situation and “tardy” procurement of wheat.
Bajwa along with his supporters squatted on the Amritsar-New Delhi railway track at Sirhind and protested against the alleged “lawlessness” in the state. “The deteriorating law and order situation is part of the ‘rail roko’ agitation,” he said. Ludhiana MP Ravnit Bittu along with Congress MLAs Surinder Dawar and Bharat Bhushan, accompanied by Congress supporters sat on the rail track in Ludhiana and stopped several trains including Shatabdi. Congress supporters were also protesting against the “tardy” procurement of wheat from grain markets in the state, accusing the SAD-BJP led government of its failure in ensuring smooth and hassle-free purchase of crop.
Railway officials said that because of the ‘rail roko’ agitation, about 15 trains got delayed. Officials said that the impact of ‘rail roko’ was visible in Ludhiana, Beas, Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Jalandhar, Ajitwal and Ferozepur, among other areas. “There has been an adverse impact on the movement of 10-15 trains because of the agitation,” Northern Railways, Divisional Railway Manager (Ferozpur), Anuj Prakash said. The Railway official appealed to the Congress protesters not to stop trains as it causes great inconvenience to passengers, besides causing national loss.
Meanwhile, a report from Phagwara said a large number of Congress activists of Kapurthala district, led by DCC President and MLA Navtej Singh Cheema, today squatted dharna on the rail tracks there as part of their statewide programme of ‘rail roko’. PPCC General Secretary Joginder Singh Mann, party’s Doaba Zone President and MLA Tarlochan Singh Soondh, Spokesman Sukhpal Singh Khaira, also joined the dharna and addressed protesters along with Cheema. The protesters sat on track from 12 noon to 1 pm. They raised anti-government slogans during their agitation and also carried placards mentioning, “Badal-Modi, Kisan Virodhi, Dalit Virodhi” (Both PM Narendra Modi and CM Parkash Singh Badal are anti-farmer and anti-dalit).
They also demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal for the Moga bus incident in which a teenage girl was killed after being allegedly molested and thrown off with her mother from a moving bus, belonging to the ruling Badal family in Punjab. “Since the Orbit Aviation company was owned by Sukhbir Badal, he and its other owners should be interrogated in the same way as the officials of Uber Taxi service were questioned in connection with the alleged rape by a cab driver in New Delhi sometime back,” they demanded.