Mamata orders probe after Bihar violence
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered a departmental inquiry into the cancellation of stoppage of some trains at a station in Bihar, which sparked violent protests, and said halting of trains there will continue like in the past. "As a railway minister I am not in favour of withdrawing any facility and it has been done locally without the consent of my ministry," she said.kolkata Updated: Jun 01, 2009 21:39 IST
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday ordered a departmental inquiry into the cancellation of stoppage of some trains at a station in Bihar, which sparked violent protests, and said halting of trains there will continue like in the past.
"As a railway minister I am not in favour of withdrawing any facility and it has been done locally without the consent of my ministry," she told reporters in Kolkata.
Banerjee said she had talked to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and clarified that neither she nor the Railway Ministry had issued any instruction on the issue of withdrawal of the halts.
She said if any railway official was found involved, action will be taken against him.
Banerjee condemned the violent incidents at Khusrupur, 32 kms from Patna, where the railway station building was ransacked and several bogies of some trains were torched.
Banerjee said, "I am not vindictive. Railway is a big family. But I will take action after inquiry if anyone is found responsible."
The Railway Minister appealed to the people not to make it a 'Bihar versus Mamata' issue. "It is unfair and not proper," she said.
"Bihar is our neighbour. People of Bengal and Bihar are living as good friends for years together. There is no animosity between us," she said.
Referring to the burning of trains following the announcement of withdrawal of halts, Banerjee said, "I don't blame the people. Somebody had provoked them."
"I will not remove any existing facilities. Some people have done it to malign us. Some have spread misinformation. I heard that a local advertisement regarding withdrawal of halts has appeared without the consent of our department," she said.
Banerjee said if the Railway had indeed issued it, "we will find that out through inquiry and issue a show cause notice".
She said if there were any unauthorised halts, these should have been legalised. "For every matter, there is scope for talks and negotiations. I hope Bihar does not get provoked."
Pointing out that she had best of terms with the Bihar Chief Minister, Banerjee said, "I told him he can talk to me any time."
"We don't do politics of caste and creed," she said.
Banerjee said she did not think that any political leader was behind the incident.
"I am telling vested interests that they should not play with fire," she said adding that people should not be divided on caste and communal lines.