Sikhs block trains in Punjab

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Chandigarh, Jun 25 (UNI) Rail traffic was thrown out of gear in Punjab and thousands of passengers remained stranded as activists of Damdami Taksal and other Sikh organisations today blocked rail traffic at various places in Punjab, demanding the arrest of Dera Sachcha Sauda chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

The 'Rail roko' call was given by the Damdami Taksal and supported by other Sikh groups including the Dal Khalsa following the killing of a member of the Sikh community by the security guard of Baba Ram Rahim in Mumbai recently evoking strong protests in Punjab and elsewhere.

Shouting slogans, activists blocked the train traffic by squatting on the railway tracks.

Up and Down rail traffic between Ambala and Amritsar remained disrupted for several hours as hundreds of Sikh activists organised noisy protests, a report from Phagwara said. The rail traffic to Jammu was also affected following a blockade near Madhopur on the Pathankot-Jammu section.

Several Up and Down Line trains were either diverted to few alternative routes or terminated in midway of their journeys, while dozens were cancelled.

Passenger trains were stopped at the railway stations in Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Sangrur, Ferozepur, Mansa, Bhatinda and Rampura Phull while seven trains were cancelled in Amritsar. Traffic on the Delhi-Bhatinda-Ferozepur section was totally disrupted, reports received here said. However, there was no report of any damage caused to the railway property.

Railways have cancelled 2014 DN Shatabadi Express, 2460 DN Amritsar-Delhi Superfast Express, 2716 DN Sachkhand Express, 5210 DN Jannayak Express, 2054 DN Amritsar-Hardiwar Janshatabdi Express, 5708 DN Amritsar-Katihar Express, 2926 DN Paschim Express, 1058 DN Amritsar-Dadar express trains for today due to agitation, the Phagwara report said.

According report, to the 8237 UP Bilaspur-Amritsar-Chhattisgarh Express was stopped at Jalandhar, 2903 UP Mumbai-Amritsar Express at Beas, 4631 UP Dehradun-Amritsar express at Dhilwan while 8101 UP Moorie Express was diverted via Pathankot and 3049 UP remained stranded at Ambala and 334 UP Amritsar-Ambala Train at Sirhind Railway Station.

Railways have set up an Emergency Rail Office at Amritsar railway station to monitor the situation.

Hundreds of Sikh activists blocked rail traffic at Chiherru railway station on the Phagwara-Jalandhar rail section, stopping a Jammu-bound 1449 UP Jabalpur-Jammu weekly train.

Train passengers were subjected to inconvenience due to the blockade. However, the agitators arranged drinks and meals for them.

Demostrations were held at some places in Ludhiana where the activists burnt the effigy of Dera Sachcha Sauda chief. They also blocked Ludhiana-Chandigarh road. Agitators also blocked road traffic on the Amritsar-Jalandhar highway near Dhilwan.

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