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Kurmis lift rail blockade in West Bengal after five days

The agitation since Tuesday led to the cancellation of more than 250 express and passenger trains, the railway official stated.

September 25, 2022 10:29 am | Updated 03:55 pm IST - Kolkata

Agitators from the Kurmi community block railway tracks to press for their demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, in West Medinipur district.

Agitators from the Kurmi community block railway tracks to press for their demand for Scheduled Tribe (ST) status, in West Medinipur district. | Photo Credit: PTI

A rail blockade by Kurmis, demanding scheduled caste status, at two stations in Adra and Kharagpur divisions was withdrawn after five days, an official in Kolkata said.

The agitation since Tuesday led to the cancellation of more than 250 express and passenger trains, the railway official stated.

With the blockade now lifted, normal train services under South Eastern Railway (SER) jurisdiction will be restored soon, the official said.

"The 123-hour-long blockade at Kustaur and Khemasuli stations since 4 am on September 20 was withdrawn at 7 am on Sunday. The blockade severely affected train services in Kharagpur and Adra divisions, inconveniencing thousands of passengers every day," the SER official explained.

Kurmis had first taken to rail and road blockades in Bengal and neighbouring states on September 20, demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status and inclusion of Kurmali language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.

In Jharkhand and Odisha, however, the blockade of railway tracks was lifted that very day itself, but the protest at the two stations of Bengal continued.

Apart from cancellation of over 250 express and passenger trains due to the agitation, many trains were short-terminated or short-originated, and several others had to diverted via alternative routes, the official added.

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