Patna, Oct 23: Train services were the worst casualty for second day on Thursday, Oct 23 as students in Bihar intensified agitation to protest attacks on railway board examinees by the Maharastra Navnirman Sena in Mumbai on Sunday, Oct 19.
Traffic of the East Central Railways continued to remain paralysed in Bihar and elsewhere affecting the long distance commuters for the second day as the railway properties had become an easy target for the agitating students to make their cries heared. Most of the long route trains as well as passenger trains remained cancelled following which thousand of passengers were stranded at different railway stations since Wednesday, Oct 22. The 2142 Up Rajendranagar-Mumbai Exp is likely to chug off from Patna. The passenger trains originating from Patna, Danapur and Rajendranagar terminals were cancelled. However, some other trains passing through the route were being escorted by the securitymen. The irate students ransacked several railway stations and squatted on the tracks to prevent movement of trains.
About 3000 students assembled at Motihari station in East Champaran district and set ablaze the offices of the railways. They also ransacked the other offices at the railway station and looted cash. They did not spare the private shops. A police vehicle was also set on fire there.
Students also torched a bus in Nalanda district and stopped movement of traffic there for few hours. Reports of violence and protests came from from stations of Bakjhtiyarpur, Kataura, Lakhisarai, Dima halt under Patna-Gaya sections this Thursday, Oct 23 morning. The ECR would review the situation this evening to decide about the fate of the other trains.
ECR's official A K Chandra said the railways incurred a financial loss of over Rs 4.5 crore during the past two days. The dimension of the exact loss would be assessed after taking every details into account, he added.
Besides AC coaches, several other infrastructure like signaling systems, computers, officem property were damaged in the violent protests all over the state during the past two days. Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minsiter Nitish Kumar and Railways Miinister Lalu Prasad have appealed to the students to restore peace.
Both the leaders exhorted the agitating youths to restrain themselves and said violence was not an answer to violence. Nitish Kumar has also convened an all party meeting to discuss the situation arising out of students' agitation.
Meanwhile students after returning from Mumbai lodged two separate FIRs at Muzaffarpur and Hajipur against the MNS chief Raj Thackeray for assaulting them. Incidentally, Pawan Kumar, a student from Nalanda district who went to Mumbai to appear in the railway examintation was killed in the brutal attack of the MNS activists on Sunday Oct 19. The assault on students by the MNS activists in Mumbai on Sunday, trigerred violent protest all over Bihar which witnessed agitations forcing the security personnel to open fire during the past two days. At least four students were injured in the police firing in the state. One of the seriously injured student had reportedly succumbed to his injuries.