Farmer unions on Monday held “rail roko” (stop the trains) protests in several parts of the country to demand the dismissal of Union minister Ajay Mishra because of the violence in Lakhimpur Kheri district of Uttar Pradesh earlier this month. The protests were held between 10 am and 4 pm on Monday.
The agitation affected nearly 160 trains through the day, India Today reported. As many as 63 trains were stopped before their destination, 43 trains were cancelled, 50 trains were partially cancelled and one train was diverted.
Movement of trains was disrupted in Punjab’s Ludhiana, Amritsar, Jalandhar, Moga, Patiala and Ferozepur and Haryana’s Charkhi Dadri, Sonipat, Kurukshetra, Jind, Karnal and Hisar towns, PTI reported.
The Rapid Action Force has been deployed at the Sonipat police station in Haryana, according to the Hindustan Times.
Eight people, including four farmers, were killed in the district on October 3 during a protest against the Centre’s new agriculture laws. Ashish Mishra, the minister’s son, has been arrested on charges of murder after farmer bodies alleged that a vehicle that belonged to him ran over the protestors.
Farmer bodies and Opposition parties have demanded that Mishra be sacked from the Union Cabinet. They have said that an impartial investigation into the matter will not be possible if Ajay Mishra continues to be a Union minister.
“He [Ajay Mishra] promoted hatred, enmity and communal disharmony between Hindus and Sikhs in his speeches,” the Samyukta Kisan Morcha said in a statement, NDTV reported. “It is his vehicles that were used to mow down peaceful protesters. He harboured his son and accomplices even as the police was issuing summons to Ashish Mishra.”
On Monday, Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait told reporters that members of farmer unions will stop the movement of trains across the country, ANI reported.
“People in all parts of the country are aware of where they need to stop the trains,” he said.
Social media handles related to the farmers’ movement against the Centre’s contentious agriculture laws shared photos of “rail roko” protests in Haryana, Punjab, Karnataka, Bihar. The protestors shouted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party and demanded Mishra’s dismissal, PTI reported.
Meanwhile, the police in Uttar Pradesh’s capital Lucknow have imposed restrictions under Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code and warned of action against people participating in the “rail roko” protest, ANI reported.
The police have also warned that people who disrupt normalcy will be charged under the National Security Act.