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Since 1st March, 1999
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Seven-hr blockade stalls trains
Protesters during the blockade at Basugaon on Sunday. A Telegraph picture

Kokrajhar, Nov. 8: The 12-hour railway blockade staged by the Kamatapur State Demand Committee (KSDC), disrupted train services for over seven hours from 8am in the state today.

The KSDC is a conglomerate of nine organisations demanding Greater Cooch Behar or Kamtapur state comprising 15 districts of Assam and six districts of north Bengal.

Several long-distance trains, including Rajdhani Express, Brahmaputra Mail and Bangalore Express were stranded at various railway stations after activists of the KSDC blocked the rail tracks at different places, including Bijni, Basugaon, Gossaigaon, Cooch Behar and Buniadpur.

The Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express was stranded at New Bongaigaon, the Bangalore Express bound for the southern city was halted between Bijni and Patiladoha while the Dibrugarh-bound Brahmaputra Mail was stopped at Gossaigaon.

The rail services, however, resumed after 2.45pm.

Over 55 picketers were rounded up during the blockade in Bijni and Basugaon in Kokrajhar district today.

The KSDC consists of All Koch-Rajbongshi Students’ Union, Greater Cooch Behar Peoples’ Association, Greater Cooch Behar Democratic Party, Kamtapur Peoples’ Party, Koch-Rajbongshi Sahitya Sabha, All Kmatapur Students’ Organisation, All Assam Koch-Rajbongshi Sanmilani, Chilarai Sena and All Koch-Rajbongshi Mahila Samiti.

Biswajit Ray, the president of the All Koch-Rajbongshi Students Union, threatened to launch an intensified movement if the statehood demand was not taken seriously.

“If the government does not take our demand seriously, we will be forced to launch a more rigorous movement like an indefinite economic blockade,” he said.

The union’s general secretary, Pradip Ray, said the long-pending demand of Cooch Behar or Kamtapur is “historically proper, geographically desirable, economically essential, constitutionally correct and legally justified”.

He said if the statehood demand was not met, “we shall have no alternative but to launch a greater movement”.

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