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Agnipath scheme: Protests continue in Bengal, blockades hit train services

On Saturday, train services were hit on the Sealdah-Barrackpore section in North 24 Parganas district for around an hour after a group of protesters blocked railway tracks.

Members of All India Democratic Students' Organisation in Kolkata on Saturday. (Express Photo by Partha Paul)

FOR THE second consecutive day, agitations against the Centre’s Agnipath recruitment scheme continued at several various places in West Bengal on Saturday with protesters blocking railway tracks, leading to disruption of train services.

On Saturday, train services were hit on the Sealdah-Barrackpore section in North 24 Parganas district for around an hour after a group of protesters blocked railway tracks.

Around 20 protesters blocked both up and down lines at a level crossing from around 10 am. which also affected vehicular
traffic.

The agitators were removed from the spot around 11:15 am, after which railway services and movement of vehicles resumed.

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On Friday, protesters blocked the railway tracks at Thakurnagar station in the same district for an hour-and-a-half.

Meanwhile, members of All India Democratic Students’ Organisation (AIDSO) staged a protest at Hazra crossing and demanded that the Centre withdraw the scheme. Similar protests were also reported in Durgapur of Purba Medinipur district.

Meanwhile, more trains were cancelled on Saturday in the East Central Railway Jurisdiction due to the agitation.

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A release issued by the railways said, “Due to ongoing students’ agitation in East Central Railway jurisdiction, following trains will remain cancelled today (18.06.22):- 13021 Howrah – Raxaul Mithila Express, 13023 Howrah – Gaya Express, 12351 Howrah – Rajendra Nagar (T) Express, 13019 Howrah – Kathgodam Bagh
Express, 12331 Howrah – Jammu Tawi Himgiri Express, 13029 Howrah – Mokameh Express, 13185 Sealdah – Jaynagar Gangasagar Express, 12359 Kolkata – Patna Garib Rath, 13135 Kolkata – Jaynagar Express, 13165 Kolkata – Sitamarhi Express, 13413 Malda Town – Delhi Farakka Express and 13207 Jasidih – Patna Express.”
Meanwhile, the TMC said the people of the country are “not prepared” for the Agnipath scheme in its present form. Speaking to mediapersons, state minister and senior TMC leader Shashi Panja said, “There has been an introduction of limitations such as age, which has gone against the interest of the youths. This has
resulted in widespread agitation.”

BJP MLA Agnimitra Paul alleged that Opposition parties are “supporting” the agitators. “They are provoking the protesters. This [agitations] is mainly happening in BJP-ruled states.

The Opposition using this opportunity to target the central government. This is unfortunate,” said Paul.

First published on: 19-06-2022 at 04:14:35 am
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