Staff Reporter

Activists stop 46 trains

VIJAYAWADA: Transport services across Krishna district were hit on Tuesday as leaders and activists of the “Samaikyandhra Joint Action Committee” stopped trains at various railway stations and resorted to road blockades at some places.

Many trains ran behind the schedule as the protestors organised ‘rail roko’, while a few trains were cancelled. As many as 46 trains were “detained” for durations ranging between 2 minutes and 45 minutes at various stations in the Vijayawada division of the South Central Railway. However, no damage to railway properties was reported.

SCR Vijayawada Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Vasishta Johri said, “The ‘rail roko’ agitation was peaceful, and no violence was reported. There were no arrests. However, cases were filed against the people who stopped the trains.”

The protestors stopped Coromandel Express and Kerala Express for about 30 minutes. It had an indirect impact on other trains like East Coast Express and Narsapur-Guntur passenger, and these trains passing through Vijayawada ran behind schedule. The Nizamuddin-Visakhapatnam Link Express at Rajahmundry and two passenger trains at Kakinada too ran behind schedule.

The JAC leaders reached Vijayawada railway station around 10 a.m. to stop the trains passing through Vijayawada.

The State police, the Government Railway Police (GRP) and the Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel, all numbering around 300, outnumbered the protestors who were only about 100.

The JAC leaders squatted on railway tracks of platform-1 and platform-6. Some of the activists climbed up the engines of Coromandel Express and Kerala Express, and raised slogans in favour of unified Andhra Pradesh. When the agitators did not heed the police appeal to leave the track, the agitators were bodily lifted by the security personnel. The RPF later filed cases against the leaders and agitators. In Vijayawada alone, more than 19 people were taken into custody and shifted to the railway grounds and later released on personal bond. To prevent the damage to railway property, the railway police provided escort on some trains.

The usually busy railway station in Vijayawada wore a deserted look with many commuters deferring their travel plans in view of the ‘rail roko’. There was no activity in the station till afternoon though trains ran as usual. According to a rough estimate, the number of passengers, who turned up at the station would not have been more than 70,000 as against the regular traffic of about 1 lakh per day.

Former Minister Mandali Buddha Prasad, former MLA Devineni Rajasekhar, Vijayawada Central MLA Malladi Vishnu, Mylavarm MLA Devineni Umamaheswara Rao, Nandigama MLA Tangirala Prabhakar Rao, MLC Y.V.B. Rajendra Prasad, JAC convenor Kolanukonda Shivaji, TDP leaders Nagul Meera and Bonda Umamaheswara Rao, Samata Party leader V.V. Krishna Rao, youth leader Devineni Avinash and others participated in the agitation.