Mob burns railway station, trains in Bihar
A huge mob ransacked a station and set fire to two trains near Patna on Monday, protesting against a railway notification that said that express trains would no longer halt there, report HT CorrespondentsUpdated: Jun 02, 2009, 01:22 IST
A huge mob ransacked a station and set fire to two trains near Patna on Monday, protesting against a railway notification that said that express trains would no longer halt there.
The notification was later withdrawn.
When the Shramjeevi Express from New Delhi to Rajgir passed through Khusropur station, 32 km east of Patna, without — as it usually did — stopping, angry commuters went on the rampage, destroying the station and damaging its signaling system. They then turned upon an intercity express burnt four of its bogies, following it up by burning two bogies of another passenger train and uprooting railway tracks. The incident took place at at 8:30 am.
“Hundreds of locals entered the station and began attacking the trains,” said Rajendra Singh, deputy superintendent of the Government Railway Police.
The notification, issued by East Central Railways, had cancelled 33 halts for express trains across Bihar, maintaining they were financially unviable. These stops had been introduced on a trial basis, during the tenure of Lalu Prasad as railway minister.
Barely a week into her job, the current railway minister, Mamata Banerjee (54) found herself the target of Bihari ire for the notification. As the protesters raised slogans against Banerjee, she called a press conference in Kolkata and said:
“I’ve not given any such order... I’ve to find out who are the people behind this. They will be punished.”
Banerjee, however, found unexpected support from both her predecessor as railway minister and Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar. “The railway minister cannot be blamed for this,” said Lalu Prasad.
“People were instigated to torch railway coaches even though the railway authorities told them the order had been withdrawn,” said Nitish Kumar.