Farm protests: Cops wanted Delhi-bound trains stopped
Delhi Police asked Northern Railways to terminate at least 15 Delhi-bound trains, which passed through Punjab and Haryana, at the edge of the Capital in a bid to stop farmers from entering the city on Monday and joining ongoing protests against three agriculture laws, HT has learnt.
But Northern Railways said on Monday it diverted only three trains, for “operational reasons”.
Citing intelligence inputs, Delhi Police told Northern Railways on Sunday that farmers from Punjab and Haryana planned to protest in the Capital on Monday – when the Union budget was being presented – and hoist flags on Parliament House, according to two letters written by the force. HT has accessed the letters.
The police order came in the backdrop of violent clashes during a tractor rally by farmers on Republic Day, when many protesters broke through barricades, ran riot on streets, stormed the Red Fort and hoisted the Nishan Sahib, the flag of Sikhs, from its ramparts.
“There is an input that on 01.02.21 farmers from Haryana and Punjab are coming to New Delhi through train to join the ongoing protests against the three Central Farm Acts & other agrarian issues in Delhi. They are also planning to hoist Flag at Parliament House. In view of recent incident at Red Fort and to maintain law & order in the city, it is become necessary to restrain these farmers from entering Delhi,” the letter said.
“Hence, it is requested to terminate the following trains at Narela Railway Station in place of Old Delhi Railway Station to restrain these farmers to enter Delhi in view of law & order situation,” the letter added. Narela lies on the northwestern edge of the Capital.
The police communication to top Northern Railway officials asked at least 15 trains from Punjab and Haryana be terminated, including four intercity trains, Jammu-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Delhi-Katra Vande Bharat Express, Nanded Express, Amritsar-Mumbai Pashchim Express, Una-New Delhi Jan Shatabdi, Ferozpur-Mumbai Punjab Mail, Kalka-New Delhi Shatabdi Express, Pune- Jammu Tawi Jhelam Express and Katra-New Delhi Shri Shakti Express among others.
To be sure, Northern Railways said three trains were diverted on Monday citing “operational reasons.” The three trains included Punjab Mail, Ganganagar intercity and Bhatinda-Delhi Kisan Express.
“The trains were diverted due to operational reasons,” Northern railways spokesperson said. According to officials aware of the development, the railways is on high-alert and monitoring passengers coming from the aforementioned trains.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio address that the country was saddened by the “insult to the Tricolour” on Republic Day, his first public comments on the violent clashes.