The movement of over 160 trains around India was hit amid a ‘rail roko’ protest called to press for the arrest of Union Minister Ajay Mishra over the Lakhimpur incident in Uttar Pradesh, in which his son has been arrested, NDTV reported.
Security was deployed at railway stations in the wake of the ”rail roko” protest.
Farmers in Punjab and elsewhere were seen squatting on rail tracks as part of their protest. Four sections of the Ferozepur division were blocked by the protesters, said a railway official.
The Ferozepur-Fazilka section in Ferozepur city and the Ferozepur-Ludhiana section at Ajitwal in Moga were affected, he added.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha, an umbrella body of farmers’ unions, said it will hold a peaceful nationwide rail roko protest from 10 am to 4 pm for justice in Lakhimpur Kheri violence in Uttar Pradesh, NDTV reported.
“This (rail roko) will take place at different places in different districts. The people there, all over the country know where we have to stop the train. The government of India has not spoken to us yet,” said farmer leader Rakesh Tikait.
Action will be taken against those participating in the rail roko Andolan, said Lucknow police, adding that the stringent National Security Act will be invoked against those trying to disrupt normalcy.
Union Minister of State for Home Ajay Mishra’s son, Ashish, has been arrested in the case, but the farmers’ body says that as long as the minister is in the government justice cannot be secured in the matter.
Sources in the Uttar Pradesh Police have said that the minister’s son was arrested since he was not able to answer several questions about his whereabouts during the violence allegedly triggered after the vehicle ran over farmers. The arrest came after the Supreme Court pulled up the Uttar Pradesh government.
Last week, the Rahul Gandhi-led Congress delegation urged President Ram Nath Kovind to sack the minister whose son is accused of mowing down protesting farmers in UP. The President, in turn, has said he will speak to the government over the issue, said Congress.
Terming the Lakhimpur incident “absolutely condemnable”, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said issues of such nature happen in other parts of India equally which should be raised “when they happen and not when it suits others” because there is a BJP government in Uttar Pradesh.