Mumbai: Police file cases against students who staged rail roko agitation, arrest two
Suburban train services slowly resumed after the protestors called off their demonstration later in the day.
The Mumbai Police on Tuesday registered cases against at least 800 people after students staged a rail roko agitation demanding jobs in the railway sector, PTI reported. The protestors blocked railway tracks between Dadar and Matunga stations on the central line.
The agitators pelted stones at personnel from the Government Railway Police and Railway Protection Force, causing injuries to 11 of them. The police arrested two protestors in connection with the attack.
Suburban Mumbai rail services slowly resumed after they were hit during peak hours on Tuesday morning. More than 3,000 students of the All India Act Apprentice Association were involved in the agitation.
The students, who worked as apprentices in technical jobs at railways, called off the protests and the railway tracks were cleared, allowing suburban as well as express trains stranded between Dadar and Matunga stations to slowly resume.
“We have withdrawn our agitation as the railways have promised to give us a reply within two days,” an apprentice told the Hindustan Times. “They give us training but then they don’t want to employ us. How is this fair? People have come from all over India to protest. We will agitate further if our demands are not met.”
‘No provision of recruitment’
In a statement, the Central Railway said there is no provision of providing jobs to the apprentices under the Apprentice Act. “They are given only training for a specified period to improve their skills and experience of having worked in the field,” the statement read. “However, Ministry of Railways have taken a decision and reserved 20% of the seats filled through direct recruitment.”
The Railways said the notification regarding the recruitment has already been issued and the last date for submitting application is March 31. “Apprentices can apply against this notification and special examination will shortly be held for apprentices who have done training in Railway Workshops under Apprentices Act,” it added.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said no rules of the Apprentice Act have been changed and the students were demanding more than 20% reserved seats. “The police resorted to baton-charging after agitators started pelting stones. Nobody was injured,” Fadnavis said in the Maharashtra Assembly.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said the Indian Railways had introduced a recruitment policy that was “unbiased and transparent” on the directions of the Supreme Court. “Recruitment in railways is underway at a large scale,” Goyal said during a press conference. “The agitators have called off their protest and further discussions will be held.”
Rail services on central line hit
Train services between Kurla and Dadar were suspended after the protests began at 7 am. The Central Railway said rail traffic between Dadar and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus was affected.
The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport announced that it would run additional buses to help stranded commuters while the protest was underway. The initiative did not take-off completely, however, as several The Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport drivers and conductors were unable to reach work on account of the protest. According to Hindustan Times, additional buses are running from Dharavi, Matunga, Mulund, Ghatkopar among other places.
Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil told News18 that his party was in full support of the agitating students. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena leaders arrived at the spot to convince the students to stop the protest, Hindustan Times quoted former MNS corporator Sandeep Deshpande as saying. Shiv Sena leaders will meet Goyal over the protests soon.