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Passengers derail fare protest

Barasat, June 25: Passengers of a local train led by two homemakers today forced Congress and SUCI supporters to withdraw a blockade on railway tracks in North 24-Parganas, held to protest the railway fare hike.

A group of around 20 agitators had blocked the tracks near Habra station around 10.30 this morning, stalling the Sealdah-bound Bongaon local.

Commuters in a hurry to reach Sealdah got off the train and requested the agitators to withdraw, saying the Centre had partially rolled back the hike in suburban train fares.

Homemakers Beauty Debnath of Habra and Sarika Sardar of Thakurnagar led the group of passengers to protest the blockade. Some commuters got involved in a scuffle with a section of the agitators.

Police intervened and forced the agitators to leave around 11am.

“The passengers were getting late for work. So we decided to persuade the agitators to lift the blockade,” Beauty said.

Congress MP Pradip Bhattacharya said: “It would have been better had the protesters issued a prior notice.”