Railway Board Chairperson Vinod Kumar Yadav said on Monday that railway property worth Rs 80 crore was damaged during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, and the amount will be recovered from those who indulged in violence and arson, PTI reported.
“There has been damage of railway property worth Rs 80 crore during anti-CAA protests,” Yadav said. “Of this, the Eastern Railway suffered damage worth Rs 70 crore and the damage suffered by the Northeast Frontier Railway was worth Rs 10 crore.”
He said that the protestors set panels on fire and damaged signalling systems, NDTV reported. However, Yadav added that the damage assessment was a preliminary figure and could be revised later.
The railway board chairperson said that the Railway Police Force is coordinating with state governments to identify those who damaged property, ANI reported. “Once identified, efforts will be made to recover the damage,” Yadav added.
Union Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi had said on December 18 that he had issued orders that anyone who damages railway property should be shot at sight. “I direct (the authorities) as a minister – shoot them at sight. It is taxpayers’ money,” Angadi said.
Angadi’s statement came after protests against the amended Citizenship Act turned violent in parts of West Bengal. A railway station complex in Murshidabad was set on fire on December 14. Protesters also blocked railway tracks at Uluberia station in Howrah district and vandalised a few trains. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had dismissed the arson as “one or two incidents”
The Citizenship Amendment Act, passed by Parliament on December 11, grants people of six minority communities – Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists and Parsis – from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh Indian citizenship, if they came to the country on on before December 31, 2014.
As the act excludes Muslims from its scope, it has been labelled anti-Muslim, leading to nationwide protests. At least 26 people have died in the protests, including 19 in Uttar Pradesh alone.