regular-article-logo Thursday, 21 September 2023

Kamtapur blockade hits rail traffic

Number of long-distance passenger trains were delayed, inconveniencing hundreds of passengers

Our Bureau Siliguri Published 07.12.22, 04:59 AM
Supporters of the Kamtapur State Demand Forum block a train near New Maynaguri station in Jalpaiguri district on Tuesday

Supporters of the Kamtapur State Demand Forum block a train near New Maynaguri station in Jalpaiguri district on Tuesday Biplab Basak

Railway traffic was disrupted for over four hours in some parts of north Bengal on Tuesday as a joint forum of two political parties blocked tracks at Maynaguri in Jalpaiguri district to press for the separate Kamtapur state.

A number of long-distance passenger trains bound for the Northeast from the rest of the country and vice-versa were delayed, inconveniencing hundreds of passengers.


The Kamtapur State Demand Forum — a joint body of Kamtapur Progressive Party and Kamtapur Peoples’ Party (United) — had earlier announced the programme to exert pressure on the Centre on their longstanding demand.

Accordingly, hundreds of supporters of both the parties, accompanied by leaders, raised a blockade on the tracks near New Maynaguri station of Jalpaiguri district from 6am.

They raised slogans, planted flags on the tracks and stopped the Sealdah-bound Kanchenjungha Express.

The railway authorities diverted the Dibrugarh-bound Kamrup Express, the Kamakhya-bound Brahmaputra Mail, the Bamanhat-bound Uttarbanga Express and the Deoghar-Agartala Express via the Mathabhanga-New Cooch Behar route.

“Some local trains were cancelled or short-terminated because of the blockade,” said a source in the Northeast Frontier Railway.

Since Monday, state police and the RPF had been on alert and made security arrangements in different stations like New Maynaguri, New Cooch Behar and New Alipurduar. The protesters, however, raised the blockade only near New Maynaguri.

As the blockade continued, senior railway officials reached the spot with police officers. They spoke to the agitators and around 10.25am, the protesters agreed to clear the tracks.

“We have spoken to railway officials and communicated our demand to the central government through them. Our movement will continue in the coming days unless it is met,” said Nikhil Roy, the chairman of the forum.

The KPP has alleged that the police stopped its leaders and supporters from going out of their homes in Malda and Cooch Behar.

“Since last night, we were not allowed to go out. Policemen were posted outside our homes to foil our movement,” said Manohar Bhagat, a KPP leader in Alipurduar.

The police have denied the charges.

While the Trinamul Congress has accused the BJP of inciting people to block the tracks, the saffron camp has demanded that the state government hold talks with Kamtapur parties.

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