One year of Lakhimpur Kheri violence: Farmers block rail tracks in Punjab, 6 trains cancelled, 3 short terminate
The farmers burnt effigies at 8 locations. Besides cancellation of several local trains, Amritsar-Delhi Shatabdi Express and Shan-E-Punjab trains were delayed by three hours
Demanding the sacking of Union minister of state for home Ajay Mishra, members of the Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) blocked rail traffic for three hours on Monday, on the first anniversary of the Lakhimpur Kheri violence that claimed eight lives. The farmers laid siege to various routes, including Amritsar-Delhi railway tracks, from 12 pm to 3 pm, leaving thousands of passengers stranded in trains and at various railway stations of the state.
Besides the cancellation of several local trains, Amritsar-Delhi Shatabdi Express and Shan-E-Punjab trains were delayed for more than three hours while they were on the way from New Delhi to Amritsar. The protests were held at 17 separate locations, prominently in the Majha region.
The farmers also burnt effigies of the central government at eight locations including Muktsar, Mansa, Barnala, Malerkotla, Sangrur, Fatehgarh Sahib, Rupnagar and Nabha to protest the lack of action against Mishra. A half dozen passenger trains were cancelled while three short terminated and two short originated in Ferozepur railway division following agitation by farmers.
As various farm union remained on protest on railway tracks, six trains included Beas-Tarantaran, Tarantaran-Beas, Ferozepur Cantt-Ludhiana, Bhagtanwala-Khemkaran, Lohian Khas-Phillaur and Phillaur-Lohian Khas were cancelled while Ludhiana-Amritsar, Nangal Dam-Amritsar and Ludhiana-Ferozepur Cantt were short terminated besides two short originated including Amritsar-Ludhiana and Amritsar-Nangal Dam.
Farmers were staging a protest at Tikunia village on October 3 last year against a visit of then deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya when four of them were crushed under the wheels of a convoy of cars. In the subsequent violence, four others, including two BJP workers and a journalist, were killed.
Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC)’s general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher demanded that farmers arrested after the incident should be released immediately and the Union minister should be sent behind bars after being sacked from the cabinet.
He said the Centre should also revoke the notification issued for amending the distribution of electricity licence rules. He alleged that the government was now going to distribute electricity to private companies. “The right of distribution of electricity belongs to state governments, but by issuing this notification, the central government is taking it into its own hands and giving it to private houses,” he claimed. He also demanded ₹7,000 compensation per acre for managing paddy stubble.
(With inputs from Ferozepur)