Ransacking of railway stations, torching of coaches, and blocking of railway tracks continued in parts of West Bengal for a third straight day today, badly disrupting rail traffic, as thousands protested against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Akra Station in Sealdah Budge-Budge Section was targeted on Sunday by agitators who ransacked the station complex. The station was almost entirely devastated, while tyres were torched on the railway tracks. The ticket counter and enquiry counter at the station were completely wrecked.
Telecommunication and signalling systems was also reported to have been severely affected. Railway staff were alleged to have been manhandled by a group of protesters. The unruly mob was brought under control only after police action. Two trains at the station were ransacked by the violent protesters. The driver’s cabin of one of them was severely damaged in stone pelting by the agitators. At Bhaluka Road Station in Malda, thousands of agitators blocked train movements by setting fire on the tracks.
The platform, doors and windows of the station were severely damaged by the protesters. The station complex was set on fire and badly damaged by the angry mob that demanded immediate withdrawal of the legislation. At Monogram station and Rejinagar in Murshidabad, which has witnessed violent protests over the CAA, RPF vans were vandalised and damaged by mobs. At Krishnapur station, which has been the epicentre of violent agitations and blocking of rail lines, three trains and ticket counters were set ablaze.
The Hazaduari Express was completely destroyed by the protesters who torched several coaches along with the railway tracks. A large number of Railway Protection Force personnel along with quick response team were deployed to check further damage. At Nalhati and Lohapur stations, protesting against the CAA, agitators resorted to violence and arson. Considering the violent agitation, the railway authorities had to suspend train movement at Nalhati station. The arson was not limited to railway stations only. At Baishnabnagar, a toll plaza was vandalised by an angry mob today.
Reportedly, police had to resort to lathi charge on the agitators to bring the situation under control. On the other hand, the staff of Shibpur toll plaza had to seek help from the state administration after allegedly receiving threat letters warning of attacks by the protestors. Additionally, tyres were set on fire at NH-34 in Amdagnaga, Kalyani Expressway at Ruiya Bakultala Crossing in Khorda, Jessore Road in Madhyamgram and Hyatnagar Crossing in Birbhum and several other places for a second day to block highways and national highways passing through the state.
While yesterday, train movement in South Eastern Railway was almost paralysed with cancellation of numerous trains, today services in Eastern Railway were severely hit by the widespread agitation against the recently passed CAA. In South Eastern Railway, Secunderabad Falaknuma Express, Howrah-Kanyakumari Express and Santragachi- Puducherry Special were cancelled, while in Eastern Railway, Howrah-Azimganj Kavi Guru Express, Guwahati-Bangalore Cantt. Express, Dibrugarh- Howrah Kamrup Express, Sealdah-New Alipurduar Teesta Torsa Express, Guwahati- Secunderabad Express were cancelled. Apart from this, services of several other express and local trains in Eastern Railway were disrupted due to the ongoing protests in various parts of the state.