In a dramatic turn of events, frustrated passengers launched a fierce attack on protesters who blocked the movement of trains for over four hours at the Ludhiana railway station on Monday. The blockade began at around 11 in the morning and trains started running again at 3pm.
Kin of the four youths who drowned in the Sutlej on Sunday swarmed the station where they blocked three trains, pelting stones at police, passengers and trains. Two cops suffered injuries in the attack.
However, in reaction to the stone-pelting, police started chasing protesters away with lathis while passengers resisted by fighting back.
The scene in the rest of the city was similar where protesters blocked traffic for six hours demanding that the divers be booked for murder for denying help to the families of victims unless they were paid Rs 15,000.
Protesters overpowered by cops, passengers
Though protesters stayed the course hurling stones at cops and commuters, they were overpowered once passengers joined the fight.
Earlier, passengers had a harrowing time and were left stranded as protesters blocked tracks and stopped three trains. Helpless passengers were spotted crowding waiting rooms and platforms.
A passenger, Mahaveer, who was travelling to Delhi with his family, said, “My children have nothing to eat and we have been sitting inside the train for over three hours in this scorching heat. The law and order situation is out of hand here. We do not see such blockades abroad.”
Another passenger, Sauvik Das, said, “Our family was to catch a flight from Delhi to Kolkata at 6pm but after being held up for four hours here, I don’t think we will make it in time for the flight. Why should the common man suffer so? I am shocked to see cops playing mute spectators to the entire mess.”
Passengers take alternate route
As tempers ran high and patience ran out, some passengers were spotted alighting from trains with their luggage and walking towards the station’s exit. They hired auto rickshaws to go to the bus stand.
Enquiry window chock-a-block
Distressed passengers were seen thronging the enquiry window enquiring about the status of trains, asking when they will resume services.
Cops were negligent: kin of deceased
The protesters claimed to be associated with Jeengar Samaj Rajasthan and were mostly residents of Islamganj and Prem Nagar areas. All the four youths who drowned in the river on Sunday belonged to these areas. Protesters alleged that the youngsters died due to the negligence on part of cops who were on duty.
A protester, Rakesh Solanki, said, “We want police to take strict action against the cops on duty at the Sutlej river where the youngsters drowned. We also demand compensation and government job for the kin.”