Thirteen trains, including two Shatabdi Express trains, scheduled to leave from Howrah and other stations in West Bengal on Saturday, have been cancelled due to Agnipath protests, railway officials said.
Even though there were no massive or violent protests in West Bengal, the trains had to be cancelled due to the violent agitations going on in states like Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh against the Centre’s new ‘Agnipath’ recruitment scheme.
Howrah station is India’s oldest and one of the busiest stations.
“The Eastern Railway had to cancel 13 trains due to ongoing student agitation in East Central Railway jurisdiction. Most of them were originating from Howrah station,” said Ekalabya Chakraborty, chief spokesperson of the Eastern Railway.
The East Central Railway encompasses states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.
The list includes Howrah-Ranchi Shatabdi Express, Howrah-Dhanbad Black Diamond Express, Howrah-New Delhi Poorva Express, Howrah-Darbhanga Express, Howrah-Jaynagar Express, Kolkata-Jammu Tawi Express, Howrah-Dehradun Kumbha Express, Howrah-Patna Shatabdi Express and Malda Towan-New Delhi Express among others.
“No trains had to be cancelled by the South Eastern Railway,” said a spokesperson of the South Eastern Railway.
On Friday, the wave of protests against the ‘Agnipath’ recruitment scheme reached West Bengal, where armed forces aspirants held rallies and blocked trains in some areas.
There were, however, no reports of any violent incidents like stone-pelting or setting fire, police said. None were injured.
At Thakurnagar in North 24 Parganas, protestors blocked railway tracks for more than an hour. A section of the protestors attempted to enter the New Jalpaiguri station near Siliguri. Police, however, stopped them and later persuaded them to go back. Protests were also reported from Howrah, where youngsters tried to block the Howrah Bridge which connects Howrah and Kolkata. Police, however, dispersed the crowd when protestors attempted to sit on the bridge to stage a demonstration.
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