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Rail Roko agitation: Protests will be intensified until justice is secured in Lakhimpur case, says SKM

Protesting farmers, including women, raised slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre and demanded the arrest of Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra. Security personnel were deployed at railway stations in the wake of the 'rail roko' protest.  

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Published on: October 18, 2021 23:49 IST
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Image Source : PTI

Farmers block railway tracks as part of the Samyukt Kisan Morchas Rail Roko protest demanding the dismissal and arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra in connection with the Oct. 3 violence in Lakhimpur Kheri, in Bahadurgarh

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions spearheading the agitation against the Centre's three agri laws held 'rail roko' protest across the country over Lakhimpur violence on Monday. The six hour protest was in demand of the the dismissal and arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra in connection with the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

The farmers in Punjab and Haryana squatted on rail tracks as part of the six-hour 'rail roko'. The stir disrupted the movement of trains in both the states, causing inconvenience to passengers who could be seen waiting for long hours with their baggage.

The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) had appealed to farmers across the country to participate in the protest.

The protest passed off peacefully in Haryana, the state’s police said. The impact of the protest was seen in the form of blockades of railway tracks at 47 locations across the state that hindered the movement of trains causing inconvenience to passengers, a Haryana Police spokesperson said.

The 'rail roko' call did not have any impact in the districts of Gurgaon, Faridabad, Narnaul and Nuh in Haryana. No violent incident was reported in the state, the spokesperson said

Protests were held at many places, including Punjab's Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Moga, Patiala and Ferozepur and Haryana's Charkhi Dadri, Sonipat, Kurukshetra, Jind, Karnal and Hisar.

Hundreds of protesting farmers and villagers descended on expressways in Noida and Greater Noida on Monday, briefly disrupting vehicular movement on key stretches, officials said.

Protesting farmers, including women, raised slogans against the BJP-led government at the Centre and demanded the arrest of Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Mishra. Security personnel were deployed at railway stations in the wake of the 'rail roko' protest.

Farmers sat on rail tracks in several sections, including the Ferozepur-Fazilka section in Ferozepur city and the Ferozepur-Ludhiana section at Ajitwal in Moga, officials said.

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In a statement, the SKM had said that "protests will be intensified until justice is secured" in the Lakhimpur Kheri case. 

During the 'rail roko' protest, train traffic will be stopped from 10 am till 4 pm on Monday, the SKM had said.

"To press for its demand for MoS Home Ajay Mishra's dismissal and arrest, so that justice can be secured in the Lakhimpur Kheri massacre, Samyukt Kisan Morcha has announced a nation-wide Rail Roko programme,” it had said.

"SKM put out a call to its constituents to stop rail traffic for six hours on October 18 between 10 am and 4 pm. The SKM asks for this action to be taken up peacefully, without any destruction and damage of any kind to any railway property," the SKM had said.

At Ludhiana railway station, one of the busiest in Punjab, a person headed for Jodhpur rued that he came to know about the protest after reaching the station.

He appealed to farmer leaders to lay siege on the residences of politicians rather than harassing the common man. "They should think about the public."

A man waiting for his train at Ludhiana station with his family said they have to rush for Gonda in Uttar Pradesh as one of their relatives has died.

At Patiala railway station, Dinesh Joshi searched frantically for milk and hot water for his child as the train he was travelling in had stopped due to the farmers' protest.

A group of protesters put up a banner with 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' written on it in front of a train and forced it to stop at Moga. They also carried photos of four farmers killed in the Lakhimpur Kheri violence.

Demanding the arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher on Monday said the KMSC held protests at 20 places in 11 districts of Punjab.

Bharti Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said the protests were held at 26 places in 16 districts of the state.

Four of the eight people who died in the violence on October 3 were farmers, allegedly knocked down by a vehicle carrying BJP workers. Angry farmers then allegedly lynched some people in the vehicles. The other dead included two BJP workers and their driver. 

Farmers have claimed that Ajay Mishra’s son Ashish Mishra was in one of the vehicles, an allegation denied by him and Ajay Mishra who say they can produce evidence to prove he was at an event at that time. Ashish Mishra was arrested in the case on October 9.

(with PTI inputs)

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