|Drawing attention: Schoolchildren participating in the rail roko agitation at Jammikunta railway station in Karimnagar district on Thursday. — Photo: Thakur Ajay Pal Singh
Barring an incident of cane charge by police on a group of protesters at Talamadugu railway station, the ‘rail roko’ agitation called by Telangana Political Joint Action Committee (T-JAC) remained peaceful in Adilabad on Thursday. Police resorted to lathi charge after about 20 protesters tried to damage the pilot train that reached Talamadugu station.
The Tirupati-Adilabad Krishna Express was terminated at Kinwat in Maharashtra as also the Adilabad-Purna. The Nandigram Express between Nagpur and Mumbai and in the reverse direction was diverted through Akola.
At Adilabad station, TRS activists led by district president K. Srihari Rao demonstrated in front of a goods train that was being readied for moving out. At Kagaznagar station, agitators staged a protest in front of a stationary Nagpur passenger.
Some protesters were also taken into preventive custody subsequently. A few were also arrested at Bellampalli.
At Mancherial, pro-Telangana protesters led by G. Arvind Reddy, MLA, had to make do with stopping a couple of engines that were moving out of the railway station. BJP activists at Basar staged a dharna in the railway station as all trains passing through the temple town had been cancelled.
The ‘rail roko’ agitation was complete and successful at all the 11 railway stations in Karimnagar.
Since morning, all Telangana activists and representatives of various political parties arrived at the railway stations to obstruct the movement of rail traffic. But, they could not obstruct any train, as the railway authorities cancelled all the trains on various routes to avoid problems to the passengers. All the passenger trains were either diverted or cancelled on the Grand Trunk (GT) route in the district.
Cooking on tracks
The agitationists could only stop a goods train at the Jammikunta railway station and another one at Uppal railway station. The Telangana protagonists cooked food on the railway track at the Jammikunta railway station. The children also participated in the programme at Jammikunta railway station.
The district police deployed Central and district police personnel at all the railway stations. The police have taken into custody TRS MLC N. Laxman Rao at Peddapalli railway station and TRS legislator Koppula Esshwar was arrested at Ramagundam railway station.
Train traffic was badly affected in Mumbai-Secunderabad rail route . All trains passing through the town were either cancelled or diverted to other routes in Maharashtra or rescheduled by the railway authorities in view of the agitation. Even the goods trains were stopped at their respective stations as a precautionary measure. The police stood guard at every railway station from Basar down to Biknoor in the district to meet any eventuality.
The police, meanwhile, took 37 agitators into preventive custody at Biknoor, Tippapur and Talamadla. However, the ‘rail roko’ passed off peacefully and no untoward incident was reported. The Kachiguda-Manmad Express bound for Kachiguda was halted here and special arrangements were made to shift the passengers in buses. The RTC arranged 40 additional buses to transport the train passengers to their destinations.
Activists of T-JAC, including the CPI and BJP, squatted and lay on the railway track in Nalgonda station raising ‘Jai Telangana’ slogans and demanding introduction of a bill in Parliament for granting statehood to the region. The Tirupati-bound Narayanadri Express had left Nalgonda around 5 a.m., an hour before the agitators reached the station.
As many trains were already cancelled and several diverted, they were only left with the option of staging a protest. According to a report reaching here, some Telangana protagonists were arrested by the police after they tried to stop the train at Chityal.