Wednesday, Nov 30, 2022
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Bengal: Kurmis Continue Blocking Railway Tracks, Highway Demanding ST Status

Agitators squatted on railway tracks at Kustaur in Adra Division in Purulia district and Khemasuli in Kharagpur Division in Paschim Medinipur, leading to cancellation, short-termination and diversion of several trains, an SER spokesperson said. 

Kurmi community protest in WB
Kurmi community protest in WB PTI Photo

Train services of South Eastern Railway (SER) were affected in two of its divisions and movement of vehicles on National Highway-6 was hit on Friday as Kurmis continued blocking tracks at two stations and the road in West Bengal for four days, officials said.

Agitators squatted on railway tracks at Kustaur in Adra Division in Purulia district and Khemasuli in Kharagpur Division in Paschim Medinipur, leading to cancellation, short-termination and diversion of several trains, an SER spokesperson said. 

The Kurmis, demanding Scheduled Tribe status for the community and inclusion of the Kurmali language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, launched the agitation at various rail stations in West Bengal, Odisha and Jharkhand at 4 AM on Tuesday.

While the blockade was lifted in all other stations by the evening of the same day, it continued at Khemasuli and Kustaur. They also blocked NH-6 in Khemasuli, leaving hundreds of goods carriers and buses stranded on the road, and a traffic snarl stretching over several kilometres was seen. 

Drivers of trucks said they are having a distressing time as their stock of food has almost exhausted. "We are stranded for four days and now, we are running out of food stock and facing hardships. There is a security problem at night," a truck driver said. The government officials are expected to hold a meeting with a delegation of agitators to break the deadlock, sources said.

(With PTI inputs)

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