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Rail, Road Blockades By Kurmis Seeking ST Tag Enter 5th Day

Activists of two organisations of the community - Kurmi Samaj West Bengal, and Adivasi Kurmi Samaj - continued their agitation by blocking the railway tracks at Khemasuli station in the Kharagpur-Tatanagar section and Kustaur station in the Adra-Chandil section in Purulia district, the officials said.

Kurmi community protest in WB
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Seventy-four trains were cancelled, and hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on Thursday as the rail and road blockades by different organisations of the Kurmi community continued in parts of West Bengal for five days, demanding ST status, officials said.

Many vehicles were stuck on the old National Highway 6, which connects Kolkata to Mumbai, at Khemasuli in Kharagpur local police station area in Paschim Medinipur district, they said.

Activists of two organisations of the community - Kurmi Samaj West Bengal, and Adivasi Kurmi Samaj - continued their agitation by blocking the railway tracks at Khemasuli station in the Kharagpur-Tatanagar section and Kustaur station in the Adra-Chandil section in Purulia district, the officials said.

"A total of 496 trains have been cancelled since April 5 due to the ongoing agitations," a South Eastern Railway statement said. Among the trains cancelled on Saturday were Howrah-Chakradharpur Express, Howrah-Bokaro Steel City Express, Ranchi-Bokaro Steel City Passenger Special, Howrah-Barbil Jan Shatabdi Express, Purulia- Howrah Express, LTT-Shalimar Express, Howrah -Pune Duronto Express, the SER said. 

Puri-New Delhi Express, Howrah- Mumbai CSMT Gitanjali Express, Howrah -Titalagarh Express and  Santragachi-Purulia Express were also cancelled, it said. At least 64 express and passenger trains were cancelled on Friday owing to agitation by different Kurmi organisations blocking train tracks in the important Kharagpur-Tatanagar and Adra-Chandil sections of the SER.

Hundreds of vehicles were stranded on NH 6, triggering massive traffic snarls even on the adjoining roads in Paschim Medinipur and Jhargram districts. The Paschim Medinipur district administration officials held a meeting with the agitating organisations on Wednesday but 'failed' to reach a settlement. "The blockade will continue until our demands are met," said Kurmi Samaj West Bengal committee member Sushil Kumar Mahata.

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