Gujjar women cripple rail links
Crucial train links to Delhi passing through Rajasthan were cut off on Tuesday as authorities failed to remove Gujjar women squatting on the tracks, reports KS Tomar.Updated: Jun 04, 2008 02:04 IST
Crucial train links to Delhi passing through Rajasthan were cut off on Tuesday as authorities failed to remove Gujjar women squatting on the tracks.
Railway officials said they were helpless as the Gujjars, who are fighting for ST status, have changed strategy and are increasingly using women to block rail tracks.
Train on north-western (Jaipur region) and west-central (Kota region) routes were blocked on Tuesday, leaving 55,000 passengers stranded. DGP K.S. Bains said: “The Gujjar women have blocked the Bandikui railway track for the past two days. We are trying to persuade them but with little success.”
More than 50 trains have been cancelled, included Rajdhanis and Shatabdis.
Tracks at Bandikui near Dausa, the hotbed of the agitation, remained under siege, and all trains between Ahmedabad and Delhi had to be cancelled. This route is the main link from north India to Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Chief Commercial Manager (general) of North-Western Railway, K.L. Enkhia said, “We have refunded Rs 2 crore in 12 days of the agitation.” He estimated the loss to North-Western Railway to be Rs 1.5 crore per day.
The state government has sent out a fresh invitation for peace talks. Gujjar leader Col. KS Bainsala said a community meeting would decide if the invitation should be accepted.