Those who boarded sleeper coaches with season tickets made to pay fine
Commuters blocked the Kanyakumari Express from Mumbai for more than an hour and a half at the Paravur station on Monday morning as a ticket-checking squad prevented them from boarding the sleeper coaches of the train with season tickets.
The squad, backed by the railway police, made those who had boarded those coaches in Kollam with season tickets pay a fine of Rs. 263 each.
With the protest, the Intercity Express was held up at Mayyanad and the Vanchinad Express in Kollam.
The commuters said the Kanyakumari Express made an unscheduled halt at Mayyanad, which is between Kollam and Paravur, to let the squad and the police in.
They complained that the train had only one unreserved compartment, though the commuters numbered a few hundreds and the sleeper coaches had many vacant seats. Most of them had to go to offices or educational institutions in Thiruvananthapuram.
They raised slogans and sat on the track, preventing the train from leaving. With the commuters from Kollam joining the blockade, a demonstration against Railways began soon.
The protesters said they had for long been demanding permission to travel on at least five coaches from Kollam to Thiruvananthapuram and had petitioned the railway authorities.
The local people joined the protest soon, but officials did not turn up for talks. A team from the Paravur police station intervened, and the protesters agreed to disperse.
But a railway official tried to videotape the protesters, sparking off tension again, with some commuters almost coming to blows with railway personnel on the platform. The police employed force to chase them away.
After the train reached Thiruvananthapuram, news spread that 16 commuters from Paravur were arrested for violence. Tension erupted again at Paravur, but reports came in that they were released on executing a bond.