The four-hour nationwide ‘rail roko’ agitation called by farmer groups on Thursday had “negligible” or “minimal” impact on train services, the Indian Railways said. The blockade was held across the country from 12 pm to 4 pm and no untoward incident was reported due to the protest, though some trains were stopped by officials at stations as a precautionary measure.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions that is spearheading the protest, had announced the rail blockade, to intensify its agitation against the Centre’s new farm laws.
“The rail roko agitation passed off without any untoward incident. There was negligible or minimal impact on the running of the trains across the country. Train movement in all the zones is normal now,” a Railways spokesperson said.
“Majority of the zones have reported not a single case of any stoppage of the train by the agitators. Few trains were stopped in some areas of some Railway zones but now train operation is normal and trains are being operated smoothly. While dealing with the Rail roko agitation, utmost patience was exercised by all concerned,” he added.
In Punjab and Haryana, farmers at several places squatted on railway tracks which led to disruption in the regular movement of trains on some routes. Protests were also staged at some places in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. However, in many states, it was a low-key affair.
The All India Kisan Sabha claimed the agitation received a “massive response across the country”. It further claimed that some activists were arrested in Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, and Telangana.
“The massive success of the rail roko struggle is a warning to the Modi government. The farmers across the country have expressed their determination to continue the struggle till the demands are met with,” the Sabha said in a statement.
Railways beef up security in light of the agitation
Earlier, around 25 trains were regulated by the Railways on account of the agitation. The railways deployed 20 additional companies of the RPSF across the country, especially in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
Within an hour of the agitation being over, all train services were running normally across the country, the Railways said.
Thousands of farmers have been protesting since late November at Delhi’s borders with Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, demanding a rollback of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers’ (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020 and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.
(With PTI inputs)