The farmer unions have called for a four-hour rail roko’ protest across the country as they continue to agitate three agricultural laws enacted by the Centre in September last year.
The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella body of 40 farm unions, has called for a peaceful protest between 12noon and 4pm, expecting to get support for the programme from across the nation.
The railways, meanwhile, have stepped up security to prevent any untoward incident. Additional forces have been deployed across Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has deployed 20 additional companies across the four states, reported Hindustan Times.
“We appeal to everyone to maintain peace calling for peaceful protests so as not to inconvenience passengers,” a railway ministry spokesperson said.
As farmers prep for the blockade, director general, Railway Protection Force, Arun Kumar said, “I appeal to everyone to maintain peace. We will be liaisoning with district administrations and will have a control room in place,” according to news agency PTI.
“We will gather intelligence. States such as Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, and some other areas will be our focus” he said, adding that they want to persuade the protesting farmers to not cause inconvenience to passengers.
“We have a four-hour window and we want it (rail roko) to get over peacefully,” Kumar told PTI.
An official, according to PTI, said that no decision has yet been taken on train movement in the backdrop of the rail blockade. “Once we get a better picture of the status of the protests and have identified sensitive spots, we will put in place a plan of action. We have around 80 trains which run through potentially sensitive areas and most of them would have passed through them before 12 pm,” the official was quoted as saying.