Agnipath protests: Railways says 200 train affected so far, 35 cancelled
Over 200 trains have been affected so far due to the protests against the Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces, the Railways said Friday.
Around 35 trains have been cancelled while 13 short-terminated since the protests erupted on Wednesday, the national carrier said.
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw urged youths not to destroy railway asset. "I appeal to the youth to not indulge in violent protests and not damage the property of the Railways."
The worst-hit East Central Railways -- which covers Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh, the states which have witnessed widespread protests -- has also decided to "monitor" the operations of eight trains due to the agitations.
The officials said they are keeping an eye on the movement of these trains and will take decision on their operation as the situation evolves.
These trains include: 12303 Howrah - New Delhi Poorva Express, 12353 Howrah - Lalkuan Express , 18622 Ranchi - Patna Patliputra Express, 18182 Danapur - Tata Express, 22387 Howrah - Dhanbad Black Diamond Express, 13512 Asansol - Tata Express, 13032 Jaynagar - Howrah Express and the 13409 Malda Town - Kiul Express.
Two ECR trains that have been cancelled are -- 12335 Malda Town - Lokmanya Tilak (T) Express and the 12273 Howrah - New Delhi Duronto Express.
Details about other cancelled trains were not immediately available.
Several trains run by the North Frontier Railways also pass through the ECR jurisdiction and three of them are also hit, the railways said.
Angry mobs have targeted trains and railway property in their protests against the Centre's Agnipath scheme for recruitment in the armed forces on a short-term contractual basis.
Coaches of three running trains in the ECR and one empty rake in Kulharia (also in the ECR) were damaged by violent protestors. One coach of a stationary train was also damaged in the washing line at Uttar Pradesh' Balia.
Damages to fixed asset are difficult to be assessed at the moment, railway officials said.
In Balia, raising slogans 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and 'Agnipath Wapas Lo (withdraw Agnipath scheme)', protesting youths set an empty train on fire and vandalised a few other trains, prompting the police to lathicharge them.
Reports of agitators vandalising the Secunderabad Railway Station and setting a trainset ablaze have also come in.