Rail Roko: Farmers stage protests at stations; Railways step up security

By Gitanjali Mangal - February 18, 2021 12:02 pm

Farmer Organizations have called for a four-hour 'rail roko' agitation across the country on Thursday.

Also Read | Rail Roko Agitation in India: Indian Railways deploys additional companies

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) called for a peaceful protest between 12noon and 4pm.

The railways, meanwhile, have stepped up security to prevent any unfortunate incident. Additional forces have also been deployed across Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has deployed 20 additional companies across the four states.

“We appeal to everyone to maintain peace calling for peaceful protests so as not to inconvenience passengers,” railway ministry stated.

As farmers prep for the blockade, director general, Railway Protection Force, Arun Kumar said, "I appeal to everyone to maintain peace. We will be liaisoning with district administrations and will have a control room in place,"

Adding, "We will gather intelligence. States such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, and some other areas will be our focus" and they want to persuade the protesting farmers to not cause inconvenience to passengers.

Also Read | Man who raised swords to 'instigate' farmers on R-Day, arrested

“We have a four-hour window and we want it (Rail Roko) to get over peacefully," Kumar stated.

An official said, "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,"

The SKM has criticized the government’s “attitude” and demanded that a solution to the farmers’ issues be arrived at without any further delay.

Darshan Pal of SKM said, "It is clear that instead of resolving the ongoing struggle's demands, BJP is trying its best to counter and destroy it...SKM vows that it will intensify the struggle and mobilize more farmers in its support,"

Farmers have been protesting at Delhi borders. Despite 11 rounds of meeting between the protesting farmers and the Centre, no conclusion has come out so far. No date has been fixed for the next meeting.

The farmers have been protesting against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020.

-PTC News