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Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Farmers’ ‘Rail Roko’ Highlights: Trains stopped in some places as farmers stage protests at stations

Farmers' Rail Roko Protest Highlights: The ‘rail roko’ protest was announced by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of farmer unions spearheading the agitations, last week.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: February 18, 2021 9:13:54 pm
Protesting farmers block railways tracks in Ludhiana as part of the nationwide 'Rail Roko andolan'. (Express photo by Gurmeet Singh)

Farmers’ Rail Roko Protest Highlights: Farmers protesting against the Centre’s three contentious farm laws gathered at railway stations across the country on Thursday and blocked train tracks as part of a four-hour nationwide ‘rail roko’ protest, in an attempt to pressurise the government to repeal the new agriculture laws. The Railways deployed 20 additional companies of RPSF troops across the country ahead of the protest, PTI reported. 

“I appeal to everyone to maintain peace. We will be liaisoning with district administrations and will have a control room in place,” Director General, Railway Protection Force, Arun Kumar said, adding that extra security measures are being taken in states like Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. “We want to persuade them to not cause inconvenience for passengers. We have a four-hour window and we want it (rail roko) to get over peacefully,” Kumar said. 

The ‘rail roko’ protest was announced by the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of farmer unions spearheading the agitations, last week. The railway blockade was third major demonstration by farmers, following the Republic Day tractor rally and the ‘chakka jam’ on February 6. 

Live Blog

Farmers' 'Rail Roko' Protest Highlights: Farmers stage protests at stations; Railways step up security; Trains stopped in some places

16:40 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Farmers of nearby villages of Panchkula sit on railway track

Farmers of nearby villages of Panchkula sit on railway track

16:01 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Farmers' rail roko agitation: No trains arrive in Narela post noon, cops guard station

The Narela railway station in Delhi was witness to an unusual sight on Thursday -- hundred-odd police personnel and about 20 people dotted its platforms but none was expecting a train anytime soon. With farmers blocking tracks in different parts of Punjab and Haryana as part of their "rail roko" agitation against the Centre's three farm laws, no train arrived at the Narela station post noon. According to a senior police officer, the trains scheduled to arrive at Narela were stopped by the protesting farmers in Haryana's Sonepat.

"Jhelum Express passed the station in the morning, and no train arrived after that," the police officer said. He added that approximately 100 personnel drawn from the local police and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been deployed at the railway station to respond to any eventuality during the agitation.

Station Superintendent H S Tyagi said, "One train coming from Bathinda (in Punjab) that was scheduled to arrive here at 11:30 hours has been stopped somewhere before Sonepat, and other trains coming from Kurukshetra, Panipat and Ambala, will be affected. Things are expected to go back to normal after 4 pm when the farmers call off their rail roko event."

He, however, said the "rail roko" has not affected passenger movement at Narela and the number of people arriving and departing the station was more or less similar. The Delhi Police on Thursday tightened security in several parts of the national capital, especially near railway tracks, in view of the "rail roko" (rail blockade) called by the farmer groups protesting against the Centre's new agri laws. (PTI)

15:58 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Members of BKU shower petals on police personnel during 'Rail Roko' in Modinagar

Members of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) showered flower petals on police personnel and distributed sweets during the 'Rail Roko' protests in Modinagar, Uttar Pradesh. 

15:31 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Rail Roko protest in Kolkata

Glimpses of the Rail Roko protest could also be seen at stations in Kolkata.

15:16 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Rail Roko programme culminates peacefully in Palwal

Near Atoha village in Palwal, the farmers' 'rail roko' programme culminates peacefully as protesters vacate the railway track and begin moving back to their protest site.

15:11 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Passengers wait for train at Chandigarh Railway Station

Passengers waiting for train at Chandigarh Railway Station during 'Rail Roko Andolan' by Farmers on Thursday.

15:04 (IST)18 Feb 2021
'Centre should not think farmers will leave for crop harvesting, protests will continue,' said Tikait

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait on Thursday said that the Central government should not be under the misconception that agitating farmers will leave protest sites to harvest their crops any time soon. "If they insisted, then we will burn our crops. They shouldn't think that protest will end in 2 months. We'll harvest as well as protest," he said. (ANI)

15:01 (IST)18 Feb 2021
'Rail Roko' protests staged at over 50 sites across Punjab

'Rail Roko' protests were staged at sites across the state of Punjab on Thursday, as farmers gathered at railway stations and blocked train tracks to protest against the Centre's farm laws. The protest is set to end at 4 PM. 

14:24 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Protesting farmers sit on tracks in Punjab, Haryana; officials stop trains at stations

Farmers on Thursday sat on railway tracks at many places in Punjab and Haryana as part of the 'rail roko' protest against the Centre's new agri laws, with officials stopping trains at stations as a precautionary measure.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions which is spearheading the protest, last week had announced the nationwide rail blockade to press for its demand to repeal the legislations and had said that the agitation will be from 12 pm to 4 pm.

There were reports that farmers at Kurukshetra in Haryana climbed on the locomotive of the Gita Jayanti Express train, which was stationary at that time. "The train was scheduled to leave from the Kurukshetra station after 3 pm," a railway official in Kurukshetra said. In Punjab, protesters sat on tracks at many places on the Delhi-Ludhiana-Amritsar railway route, officials said. Farmers blocked the Jalandhar Cantt-Jammu railway track in Jalandhar and in Mohali district also farmers blocked a rail track, they said.

Security has been tightened in both Haryana and Punjab with personnel of the government railway police and the state police forces being deployed, officials said. The Ferozepur division of the Northern Railways has decided to halt trains at stations so that passengers face less inconvenience during the 'rail roko' protest. The officials said that the movement of trains is likely to be delayed because of the farmers' rail blockade. Train services will be resumed after following due security protocols once the agitation is over, they said. (PTI)

14:17 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Gallery | 'Rail Roko' protests across the country

Farmers protesting against the Centre's farm laws blocked train tracks at railway stations across the country today. Here are some glimpses of the nationwide 'Rail Roko' protest. 


The Railways deployed 20 additional companies of RPSF troops across the country ahead of the protest, PTI reported.  (Express Photo by Ashish Kale)

Agitator blocking Delhi-Rohtak railway line. (Express photo Jaipal Singh)

Farmers blocked the Jalandhar Cantt-Jammu railway track in Jalandhar and in Mohali district also farmers blocked a rail track, they said. (Express photo by Rana Simranjeet)
13:54 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Farmers hold Mahapanchayat at Sri Ganganagar district in Rajasthan

Amidst the ongoing nationwide 'Rail Roko' protests, a group of farmer leaders hosted a Kisan Mahapanchayat in Sri Ganganagar district in Rajasthan. 

13:51 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Farmers block railway tracks in Haryana

Farmers blocked railway tracks in Palwal, Haryana as a part of the four-hour nationwide 'rail roko' agitation against the Centre's contentious farm laws. Security personnel were also present at the site of the protest, ANI reported. 

13:28 (IST)18 Feb 2021
NCP, Congress, AAP stage protest at Pune Railway Station

In support of the ongoing farmers protest in Delhi, several parties, including NCP, Congress, AAP and others staged a protest at Pune Railway Station on Thursday. 

13:21 (IST)18 Feb 2021
In Pictures | Farmers launch 'Rail Roko' protests in Ludhiana

13:04 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Watch | Farmers stage protest at Bengaluru stations

A small group of farmers staged a protest at the Yeshwanthpur railway station in Bengaluru today. "When we arrived to railway station we were not alllowed us to demonstrate rail roko by police here. Why should we wait for the police to give permission when it was nationally announced by farm unions," one farmer leader said. 


12:21 (IST)18 Feb 2021
SP legislators stage protest outside UP assembly in support of farmers

Samajwadi Party legislators on Thursday staged a protest outside the Uttar Pradesh assembly here in support of the farmers' agitation before the beginning of the state's budget session. Raising slogans against the government and in favour of farmers, the SP lawmakers sat before the statue of former prime minister and kisan leader Chaudhary Charan Singh in the Assembly and demanded that the Centre's three new agri laws be repealed.

They also carried banners and placards criticising the state government for the alleged rise in crime against women, hike in LPG, petrol and diesel prices and pending cane dues among others. Earlier, some legislators arrived on a tractor carrying the party flag and sugarcane as a mark of protest but were stopped by policemen.

"These things are symbols of agriculture. Cane prices have not been increased but the prices of diesel and petrol have been hiked several times," said a legislator when asked why he had come to the Vidhan Sabha on a tractor. Udayveer Singh, a member of legislative council, said issues are discussed inside the House while action is shown on the roads. "The tractor is a symbol of the country's prosperity. The green revolution and increase in income of farmers happened because of tractors. To give the message that the SP is with the farmers and will fight for them, we decided to come to the Vidhan Sabha on a vehicle (tractor) that is identified with farming," he said. (PTI)

12:07 (IST)18 Feb 2021
'Rail roko' protest commences at Patna station

Workers of the Jan Adhikar Party (Loktantrik) staged a protest at Patna Junction railway station in Bihar as part of the nationwide call for 'rail roko' protests against the Centre's contentious new farm laws. 


11:42 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Toolkit case: Disha Ravi moves Delhi HC to restrain police from leaking probe material to media

Climate activist Disha Ravi, who was arrested in the toolkit case, moved the Delhi High Court seeking direction to the Delhi Police against leaking any probe material, including alleged contents of private chats/communication by the petitioner to a third party.

In her plea, the 22-year-old Bengaluru-based climate activist also sought to restrain media from publishing extracts of her private chats.

The toolkit on the farmers’ protest had come under the police scanner after Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg tweeted it on February 3, with police claiming the sequence of events in the farmers’ protests, including the violent incidents at Red Fort on Republic Day, was a “copycat” of the alleged action plan in the document. Read the report here. 



11:36 (IST)18 Feb 2021
Farmers' agitation will be extended to West Bengal: Tikait

Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait has said that the ongoing farmer protests against the Centre's three contentious farm laws will be extended to poll-bound West Bengal in the future, but added that their agitation had nothing to do with the upcoming Assembly elections in the state. 

"Yes. Their crops are not being sold on MSP. We have got nothing to do with elections. We will talk to the farmers there," he told ANI. 

11:32 (IST)18 Feb 2021
'Protest will be peaceful, will give refreshments to stranded passengers,' says Tikait

Speaking about the upcoming 'rail roko' protest, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Rakesh Tikait said: "It'll begin at 12 pm & go on till 3-4 pm. Trains aren't plying anyway. It'll be done peacefully. We'll provide water, milk, lassi & fruits to people who will be found stranded. We will tell them our issues." (ANI)

Sources in the northern railways told PTI that they are expecting that the ’rail roko’ agitations will be concentrated in Punjab, Haryana and western Uttar Pradesh.

"No decision has yet been taken on train movement in the backdrop of the rail blockade. Once we get a better picture of the status of the protests and have identified sensitive spots, we will put in place a plan of action. We have around 80 trains which run through potentially sensitive areas and most of them would have passed through them before 12 pm," an official said.

On Tuesday, Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU) leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni said that farmer unions will hold meetings in poll-bound West Bengal as well and indicated that they will ask people there not to vote for those who are ”snatching our livelihood”, PTI reported.

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