Train services in Bihar stop after large-scale violence

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Patna, Oct 22 (UNI) Train services across Bihar came to a grinding halt this morning after angry students resorted to large-scale violence and damaged railway property on several stations to protest Sunday's assault on Bihari students by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists.

The decision to temporarily suspend the running of all long distance and local trains in the state was taken after agitated students, on their return from Maharashtra, went berserk, ransacking a number of stations pelting stones on passengers, setting fire to three air-conditioned coaches of 3287 Up Durg-Danapur Express and damaging its brake van and the Guard Coach at Barh and cutting off the engine from the Vikramshila Express at Jamalpur station.

Senior Railway sources here informed that finding the situation was fast going out of control at Barh station, the police first resorted to lathicharge to ward off the angry students before resorting to firing in the air.

Though five rounds were fired in the air, no one was reportedly injured.

Shouting anti-MNS slogans and demanding stern action against its Chief Raj Thackeray, the angry students also resorted to violence at Khusrupur, Hardasbigha, Fatuha, Bhagalpur, Nawada, Jehanabad, Purnia, Sasaram and at several other stations besides, preventing movement of several long distance and local trains forcing the Railway authority to temporarily suspend the services.

''We would review the situation in the evening before resuming the normal services'', a senior Railway official told UNI.

As a result, a large number of long distance and local passenger and goods trains had been stopped at several 'peaceful' stations delaying their onward journey by several hours.

The sources said as soon as the 3287 Up Durg-Danapur Express arrived at Barh station, about 50 km from here, groups of angry students set fire to three air-conditioned coaches after asking the passengers to quickly disembark.

Though two fire tenders were pressed into service, all the three coaches were completely gutted, the sources said, adding that the train's brake van and Guard Coach were also severly damaged.

Altogether, 15 students had been taken into custody on charge of damaging Railway property, the sources said, adding that Divisional Railway Manager, Danapur, rushed to Barh station to review the situation and pacify the agitated students.

Another group of angry students stopped the Vikramshila Express at Jamalpur station and cut off the engine to prevent its onward journey. They also pelted stones on passengers and ransacked the station master's office.

Reports of large-scale violence and damage to railway property were also pouring in from other parts of the state, including north Bihar, causing serious concern to the state authorities.


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