KOKRAJHAR, Aug 6: Train services were affected in parts of western Assam for several hours on Monday following an eight-hour rail blockade called by All Koch Rajbongshi Students Union (AKRSU) and All Assam Koch Rajbongshi Sanmilani (AKRS) demanding Scheduled Tribe(ST) status for Koch-Rajbongshi community.
The protestors squatted on tracks near Gossaigaon railway station since early morning disrupting movement of trains, a Northeast Frontier Railway spokesman said here.
Police resorted to lathi charge to disperse the protestors following which the trains resumed their onward journey at around 2 pm.
At least 12 people, including five policemen were injured when the police resorted to lathi charge on stone pelters at Chautara rail station during the blockade. The police arrested 18 protesters from the station.
Five vehicles belonging to satellite channels and police were damaged due to stone pelting. Kokrajhar superintendent of police Rajen Singh said the police resorted to lathicharge and burst tear gas shell to disperse the protesters from the rail track.
Due to the Rail Roko large number of long distance trains including goods trains had to be controlled at different stations. Two local passengers Alipurduar Jn- Kamakhya – Alipurduar Jn and New Jalpaiguri – Rangiya had to be cancelled on Monday.
The Down Rajdhani Express and Guwahati – Bangalore Express were diverted via alternative route via Fakiragram – Golokganj – New Coochbehar. However, no long distance up and down trains has been cancelled, but trains are running late as they had to be either diverted or controlled at different stations, it added.