regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Kurmi community protest: Rail blockade at Kustaur station lifted, new blockade at Kotshila

The blockade led to cancellation of around 500 express and passenger trains since April 5, causing immense hardship to thousands of passengers

PTI Calcutta Published 09.04.23, 07:32 PM
Members of the Kurmi community at the rail blockade

Members of the Kurmi community at the rail blockade File Picture

A five-day long rail blockade by Kurmi community over several demands including scheduled tribe status that led to cancellation of at least 500 trains was withdrawn from Kustaur station in Purulia district on Sunday, only to be started at Kotshila within an hour.

Kurmi leader Ajit Mahato said that they were withdrawing the agitation at present from Kustaur station, while maintaining that they will intensify their programme after discussions among the leadership for achieving their demands.


A new blockade of railway tracks was started at Kotshila station also in Purulia district at 12.20 pm, within an hour of the lifting of agitation at Kustaur, situated 48 km away, a South Eastern Railway official said.

Blockade of rail tracks at Khemasuli in Paschim Medinipur district was, however, continuing.

A Kurmi leader at Khemasuli told reporters that blockade will be relaxed from 1 am to 5 am in the night and from 10 am to 3 pm during the day.

"A decision on total lifting of the blockade will depend on the outcome of a meeting between our leaders and the chief secretary of the West Bengal government scheduled on Monday," he said.

Mahato announced the withdrawal of the rail blockade at Kustaur, which entered its fifth day on Sunday, "Our demands have not been accepted as yet, but we are withdrawing the agitation for the time being," he told reporters.

The blockade at the two railway stations led to cancellation of around 500 express and passenger trains since April 5, causing immense hardship to thousands of passengers, the SER official said.

Scores of super fast and express trains connecting various destinations in the country with West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand have been cancelled daily over the last five days, including New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express, Howrah-Pune-Howrah Duronto Express, Howrah-Ahmedabad Express, Howrah-Mumbai-Howrah Mail and Alappuzha-Dhanbad Express.

The Kurmis have been agitating over a string of demands including recognition as a scheduled tribe, recognition of Sarna religion and inclusion of Kurmali language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.

Railway tracks were blocked at Kustaur station in Adra-Chandil section of Adra division and at Khemasuli station in the Kharagpur-Tatanagar section of Kharagpur division of South Eastern Railway over issues not related to the railways, the SER official said.

While Kustaur and Kotshila are in Purulia district of West Bengal, Khemasuli is in Paschim Medinipur district of the state.

Kotshila, where a new blockade by the Kurmis started on Sunday, is also under the Adra division of SER.

Organisations claiming to represent the interest of the Kurmi people, who are based mainly in the Chotanagpur plateau covering Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, had in September, 2022, also resorted to a five-day long blockade of railway tracks at Kustaur and Khemasuli over similar demands.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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