Thousands Protest Rail Fare Hike

NEARLY five thousand activists of the AIDWA, DYFI and SFI were arrested by the Tamilnadu police on June 25, for attempting to stage Rail Roko at over 28 places in the state, in protest against the fare hike. At many places including Madurai, Nagapattinam and Coimbatore the police unleashed attack on the protesters.

At Nagapattinam, the protesters blocked Ernakulam Express. They were led by R Velmurugan, DYFI state secretary. The police rounded up and attacked the protesters. They did not spare the women either. AIDWA secretary Jayanthi received injury at her chest in this cruel and forceful lathi attack. R Velmurugan and DYFI district secretary Ravi and SFI state vice president Singaravelu were heavily attacked by the police. Their shirts were torn.

At Coimbatore railway junction, the protesters attempted to enter the station and tried to break the barricade when the police sought to prevent them. The police then started an attack. Led by S Muthukannan, state DYFI president, the cadres including women faced the police without giving up their chanting against the BJP led government. K S Kanagaraj, Sheikh Samssudin, Ravindran, Prabhu and others were heavily punched by the police.

At Madurai, the cadres led by state DYFI treasurer S Bala and state SFI president Uchimahali broke the police cordon outside the railway junction on West Veli Street and rushed towards the portico. However, they were prevented by a strong posse of city police, Railway Protection Force and Tamilnadu Railway Police. The police force also attacked the cadre. SFI district leaders Kartick and Selva were heavily attacked by lathi blows.

At Dindigul railway station, hundreds of cadres of the AIDWA, DYFI and SFI, led by AIDWA leader and CPI(M) MLA K Balabharathi, staged the protest in front of the locomotive of the Guruvayoor Express at 1.45 p m. They were able to halt the train more than half an hour though the police and officials tried to thwart the protest. Then the protesters were arrested and detained at a marriage hall. At the Chennai Central station, SFI state secretary J Rajmohan and AIDWA leader Radhai led the protest. Here the protesters managed to halt the West Coast Express for 20 minutes.

Though a posse of the city police, Railway Police and Railway Protection Force personnel were deployed at Tiruchi Junction to prevent the protestors, a group of DYFI, AIDWA and SFI members holding their organisations’ flags marched towards the junction, raising slogans against the centre for hiking the rail fares and freight charges. Security personnel blocked them near the main entrance of the station and arrested them. However, another group managed to enter the station and climbed on to the diesel locomotive of the Mayildathurai bound Jan Shatabdi Express after it arrived at Tiruchi Junction. DYFI district president S Chandraprakash, AIDWA district secretary S Renuka and SFI's Arunan led the protest.

Senior AIDWA leader U Vasuki condemned the rail fare hike while addressing the protesters at Virudhunagar railway station. She said that even as the Bharatiya Janata Party’s alliance partners were opposing the fare hike, the Narendra Modi government was not willing to roll it back. The BJP portrayed Modi as the hero of development during the Lok Sabha election campaign. But, how increases in rail fares and freight charges could take the country on the path to development, she wondered. Here the Rail Roko was led by V Mariyappan, state vice president of SFI.

Members of SFI, DYFI and AIDWA blocked the Madurai-Shencottai passenger train for a few minutes at Rajapalayam in Virudhunagar district. Though the police prevented most of the protesters, a few of them managed to sneak into the railway station and blocked the train. SFI district president K M Bharathi, DYFI district secretary B Mariappan, and AIDWA district president Jothi Lakshmi led the protest.

At Thiruthani in Thiruvallur district, state AIDWA president N Amirtham led the protest. Salem, Thirunelveli, Nagarcoil, Ramanathapuram, Sivaganga, Thanjvur and Thoothukudi were the other main railway stations that witnessed the protest actions by the AIDWA, DYFI and SFI. At various places, hundreds of cadres organised demonstrations also. CPI(M) state secretary G Ramakrishnan condemned the police for its violent response across the state against the democratic protest programme and demanded rollback of rail fare and freight hikes.

Last modified on Saturday, 25 October 2014 02:09

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