Updated: February 2, 2021 12:46:17 am
The Railways authorities Monday diverted the Punjab Mail (Ferozepur-Mumbai) and short-terminated another that plies between Ganganagar in Rajasthan and Old Delhi, prompting charges that it was done to prevent farmers from reaching the national capital to join the protests against the agri laws.
The Punjab Mail, which travels via Delhi, was diverted from Rohtak (in Haryana) to Rewari, and further towards its Mumbai route. “It was diverted because of operational reasons,” a Northern Railways spokesperson said, adding it was done only for a day.
The other train that moves via several stations in Punjab and Haryana, was short-terminated at Bahadurgarh (Haryana).
Swaraj India chief Yogendra Yadav, who is part of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha, alleged that Punjab Mail was “to prevent about 1,000 farmers from reaching Delhi”.
Farmer unions claimed that hundreds of farmers had boarded the train with the plan to get down at Bahadurgarh station from where Tikri border is just 4 kms away. The farmers were forced to deboard at either Rohtak and Rewari from where they took buses to reach the protest site.
Manjeet Dhaner, vice-president, BKU (Dakaunda) said for farmers in Punjab, especially in Malwa region, taking trains to reach Delhi has become a necessity. “Farmers are boarding trains from Ferozepur, Mansa and Bathinda as their tractors remain parked at the protest sites in Delhi,” said Dhaner.
The Punjab Mail has around a 20-minute halt In Delhi. Starting from Ferozepur in Punjab, the train enters Delhi from Rohtak. New Delhi is the next stop. On Monday, it was rerouted via Rewari in Haryana and then further westward to take the route to Mumbai.
Contacted, BKU (Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan said, “Our members avoid taking the trains as we had instructed them to reach Delhi by road route so as to make their presence felt. The train, it seems , was diverted only to harass the farmers and discourage them from travelling via trains”.
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