Angry mobs, comprising mostly students, ransacked two railway stations and torched a police vehicle on Thursday morning in various parts of Bihar to protest the attacks on north Indians by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena activists in Mumbai, an official said.
The railways, which were the target of the protesters for the third consecutive day on Thursday, cancelled all trains in the Patna-Danapur division till normalcy returns.
“The railways will not take the risk of running trains till proper safety of trains and its passengers is ensured by the state administration,” said AK Chandra, chief public relations officer of East Central Railway.
Chandra said that in last two days, the movement of 200 trains was affected due to widespread protests.
”Sixteen pairs of trains originating from Patna have been cancelled,” said Chandra.
Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the Patna railway station and other stations in the state since Tuesday.
Reports received here said that a mob of protesters torched a police vehicle in Motihari and ransacked the Motihari railway station Thursday morning.
”The protesters have virtually seized the railway station,” a police official said.
Similarly, angry students ransacked Lakhisarai railway station Thursday morning and forcibly stopped some trains.
According to an official at the police headquarters here, early reports suggest that protests were continuing at various places.
Nalanda district is observing a total shutdown Thursday to protest the alleged killing of railway recruitment exam candidate Pawan Kumar in Mumbai by MNS activists.
Some protesters clashed with the police in Biharsharif, the district headquarters. The police resorted to baton charge to disperse them.
”The situation is tense after protesters pelted stones at the police,” a district administration official said.
Earlier, protesters Wednesday set ablaze some coaches of three trains, blocked railway traffic and damaged public property in various parts of state.
The police said protesters targeted railway stations in Patna, Jehanabad, Barh, Khusrupur, Fatuha, Saharsa, Ara, Sitamarhi, Sasaram, Purnia and Bhagalpur.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday evening held a meeting with top officials to take stock of the situation and appealed to the protesters to not to indulge in violence.
"Please do not indulge in violence. Stop damaging the state's image as it weakens our case. Please do not put the state on fire," said Nitish Kumar.
The students were protesting the attacks by MNS activists on non Maharashtrian candidates, particularly from Bihar, who were in Mumbai Sunday to take a railway recruitment examination.
Youths who returned to Bihar on Tuesday, after being assaulted in Mumbai, alleged that a candidate, Pawan Kumar, was killed by MNS activists in Mumbai.
Pawan Kumar, 25, a resident of Bara-Khurd village in Nalanda district, about 100 km from here, was one of the hundreds of students from Bihar appearing for the exam in Maharashtra.
The police at the Patna railway station have filed a first information report (FIR) against Raj Thackeray and his supporters for the assault on the students from Bihar.
"A case was registered on the basis of the statement of the students who returned here Tuesday after being assaulted by MNS activists," said DN Gupta, superintendent of railway police, Patna.