Even as Pallavan Express began its maiden service to Karaikudi on Sunday following its extension, Tiruchiites expressed their protest over the Railways’ decision by resorting to a fast in the city.

The protest was called by Rockfort, Pallavan Express Trains Retrieval Committee following the Railways’ announcement of extension of Pallavan Express to Karaikudi with effect from September 1. Members of consumer and service organisations and functionaries of political parties participated in the day-long fast.

The agitators condemned the extension of the superfast express train, which had been operating from Tiruchi ever since its introduction years ago and demanded its operation from here.

The fast observed near the railway junction was led by committee coordinator M. Sekaran in which Tiruchi urban district Congress president Jerome Arockiaraj, Communist Party of India city secretary K. Suresh, and members of various service organisations participated.

The decision to extend Pallavan Express to Karaikudi had been taken against the wishes of the people of Tiruchi, the committee said.

The Railways could have introduced a new train from Karaikudi to benefit the people of that town and those residing in its neighbouring districts, it said adding that it was unjustified to snatch a train that had been starting from Tiruchi for several years.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) also condemned the Railways for extending the Tiruchi-Chennai Pallavan Express to Karaikudi from September 1, giving scant respect to the sentiments of the people of Tiruchi district.

The announcement on the extension of the Pallavan Express to Karaikudi drew sharp response from the people of the district, who launched a series of agitations against the decision.

The railways went ahead with the extension of the train to Karaikudi said, S. Sridhar, secretary, Tiruchi district unit of the CPI (M) in a statement issued here.

He urged the Railways to reconsider its decision and suggested to take steps for operating a separate train from Karaikudi to Chennai.