New Delhi: Farmers squatted on rail tracks at several places on Monday morning as part of the Samyukt Kisan Morcha's six-hour 'rail roko' protest over the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, hampering train movement in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The stir affected 150 locations in the Northern Railway zone and hindered the running of 60 trains causing inconvenience to passengers who could be seen waiting for long hours with their baggage.
In the North Western Railway (NWR) zone, rail traffic was affected in some sections in Rajasthan and Haryana with 18 trains cancelled, 10 partially cancelled and one diverted due to the protest.
Agitations were held at Punjab's Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Moga, Patiala and Ferozepur, and Haryana's Charkhi Dadri, Sonipat, Kurukshetra, Jind, Karnal and Hisar.
In Uttar Pradesh's Muzaffarnagar, Bharatiya Kisan Union workers halting the Amritsar-Delhi and the Jalandhar Express trains by staging a dharna on rail tracks.
Trains were halted at Meerut and Greater Noida's Dankaur stations by the protesters, BKU media in-charge Dharmendra Malik said. In Ghaziabad's Modinagar, staged a demonstration in front of a goods train which already reached its destination.
As the agitation began on Monday morning, protestors collectively sat on the railway track at Devi Dasspura village in Amritsar, in order to obstruct train movement, news agency ANI reported. As per reports, a railway official said four sections of the Ferozepur division were blocked by the protesters.
The Ferozepur-Fazilka section in Ferozepur city and the Ferozepur-Ludhiana section at Ajitwal in Moga were affected, the official said. The Border Security Force (BSF) has been deployed at Bahadurgarh Railway Station in Haryana.
Demanding the arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra, Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee general secretary Sarwan Singh Pandher on Monday demanded said the KMSC will hold protests at 20 places in 11 districts of Punjab.
Although the Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra's son, Ashish, has been arrested in the case, the farmers' body says that justice cannot be secured in the matter as long as the minister is in the government.
Meanwhile, prohibitory orders banning the gathering of people (Section 144) were imposed in Lucknow on Monday in view of the agitation. In the order, the Lucknow Police Commissioner said strict action would be taken against those indulging in anti-national activity. Cops were stationed outside the houses of farmer union leaders in Lucknow.
Further, Delhi Police has deployed its personnel at strategic points at the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station in the national capital in view of the Rail Roko agitation call given by farmer organisations.
The police can be seen deployed in heavy numbers inside and outside the premises of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Railway Station that is located in the southeast part of Delhi.
Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in Lakhimpur when a car belonging to the minister ran over them on October 3. Farmers have alleged that the minister's son mowed down the protesting farmers.
"He (Ajay Mishra) promoted hatred, enmity and communal disharmony between Hindus and Sikhs in his speeches. It is his vehicles that were used to mow down peaceful protesters. He harboured his son and accomplices even as the police was issuing summons to Ashish Mishra," read a statement from the farmers' body.
The minister had refuted the allegations saying that his son was not present at the site of the incident. His son has reiterated the same and denied the allegation.