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It had a negligible impact on the running of trains: Railways.

Protesting farmers landed on railroad tracks at hundreds of locations and stopped several trains during a four-hour rail agitation Thursday. Railways said it had a negligible impact on running trains across the country.

For some passengers on the riot-restricted trains, the railroad track included flower petal showering and toothache and milk distribution by protesting farmers. Elsewhere, tractors were brought to the rails.

Farm unions said thousands had taken part in the nationwide agitation, including protests at a number of stations in Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Telangana, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. Although protesters were detained in several places, both the unions and the Railways said the protest passed peacefully, without any incidents of violence.

In Punjab, where farmers blocked railways and stations for several weeks last year, the main group of 32 protesting unions laid siege to at least 40 places, according to Jagmohan Singh, general secretary of the Bharatiya Kisan-Dakaunda Union. Farmers sat peacefully on a darna on railroad tracks to convey their anxiety, he said.

Women unite

BKU-Ekta Ugrahan, one of the largest farm unions in the state, which is not part of 32 unions, said its members blocked tracks in 22 countries, including Bathinda, Ludhiana, Jalandhar and Patiala districts. The Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee, which had refused to lift the early blockade of passenger trains even when other unions withdrew, blocked the tracks in over 30 countries including Amritsar, Gurdaspur and Kapurthala.

Farmers, backed by khap panchayats, traders ‘and workers’ unions, blocked railway lines at 44 points across Haryana, with large numbers of women attending the Rohtak and Charkhi Dadri districts. Hisar, Sirsa, Jind and Rohtak accounted for more than half of the protest sites. In Bahadurgarh, one of the sites of agitation sitting in the last two months, farmers blocked rail traffic at five points. Leading the agitation in Patuwas, farmer leader Raju Maan said farmers were willing to make any sacrifice to repeal the three farm laws.

In Rajasthan, farmers brought a tractor to the track near Ajarka station in Alwar district to block the movement of trains.

A large group gathered at Gandhi Nagar station in Jaipur and boarded the engine of a freight train. When Railway Defense Force personnel knocked them down, they set up a landing on the tracks. The Rewari-Sriganganagar special train was canceled due to irritation, while the Delhi-Mumbai railway line remained blocked for four hours with farmers occupying the track near Gudla station in Kota district. The Jaisalmer-Jammu Tawi Intercity Express train stopped in Rajgarh in Alwar district and at least two other trains were stopped at Sawai Madhopur station.

In the town of Khurja in the Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh, the Gomti Express was stopped and farmers gave petals to the driver. Passengers were offered quarrels and children were treated with milk, said BKU-Tikai Rayveer Singh. It was about an hour after the train was allowed to move towards Delhi. In Modinagar, railway authorities prevented the passage of passenger trains. Only one freight train was passing through and there was no point to stop it, Mr Singh said. Farmers sat on rails and platforms across western Uttar Pradesh, including in Ghaziabad, Meerut, Shamli, Baghpat and Agra.

According to Samyukt Kisan Morcha, the umbrella group of unions that staged the protest, the Mumbai-Amritsar Paschim Express was stopped in Panipat, the Bandra-Haridwar special was stopped by farmers in Meerut and the Utkal Express running from Puri to Odisha to Haridwar to Uttarakhand was stopped in Ghad , because the farmers were sitting on the road to Modinagar.

Banned activists

About a hundred activists were arrested in Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, while 500 were arrested in Telangana, according to All India Kisan Sabha. He also reported arrests in Bettiah in Bihar and in Bangarpet in the Kolar district of Karnataka. According to AIKS, the protests took place at 77 stations in West Bengal, 65 stations in Jharkhand, 55 stations in Telangana, 30 stations in Odisha, 23 stations in Andhra Pradesh and 21 stations in Rajasthan.

It had negligible or minimal impact on train running, according to Indian Railways.

In the bombing at the train station in Nimtita, West Bengal, in which about 25 people were injured, railway sources said, This incident is prima facie a result of the political rivalry between Trinamool and CPI, and may have some internal links quarrels between IMC cadres.

(Data from Vikas Vasudeva in Chandigarh, Ashok Kumar in Gurugram, Mohammed Iqbal in Jaipur, Anuj Kumar in Ghaziabad and Yuthika Bhargava and Priscilla Jebaraj in New Delhi)

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