Indian Railways has lodged a total of 87 cases against the leaders and activists of BJP and JD(U) for disrupting train services during their stir to protest against denial of special category status to Bihar last week, Railway Protection Force (RPF) sources said on Monday.
Among the persons booked is former Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi who had stopped trains at Sachivalya halt in Patna town as part of BJP ‘Rail roko’ stir on February 28, the sources said.
They said a total of 87 cases have been lodged in different parts of the state against leaders and workers of the two parties.
According to RPF officials, trains were stopped at 47 places on the day of BJP stir and cases have been lodged in all of them.
“Mr. Modi has been booked on the basis of a case lodged against the agitators by the Bihar Police. The police had prepared a list of persons who were taken into preventive custody. Video footage of him and other persons on the tracks is also available with us,” they said.
As far as Bihar bandh called by ruling JD(U) at the behest of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on March 2 is concerned, the RPF has instituted a total of 40 cases against the party activists and supporters.
Section 174 of the Railway Act has been invoked in all the cases, the sources said. It entails a punishment of up to two years of imprisonment.
“Our force is sensitive towards the passengers who get stranded in the trains for hours. Coaches ran out of water. Food also gets over. Children, women and the elderly suffer a lot. This is the reason that we have decided to take strict action against those who stop trains,” said RPF Inspector General Atul Pathak.
Mr. Pathak also said that the law will take its own course with the RPF investigating the cases and approaching the court for warrants and summons.
Incidentally, the provisions to take action against those who hold trains during agitations were incorporated in the Railway Act when Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was the Railway Minister from 2001 and 2004.