Mobs block trains, seek justice for 1984 riots victims (Second Lead)

November 6th, 2009 - 8:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Ludhiana (Punjab), Nov 6 (IANS) Rail traffic on the busy Amritsar-New Delhi section was severely hit Friday as mobs demanding justice for the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, stopped trains at various places in Punjab, leaving hundreds of passengers stranded.
Over 20 trains were either halted for a few hours or diverted to alternate routes due to the widespread agitation. The protesters also pelted stones at an engine in Ferozepur division.

Hundreds of passengers, who were stranded at various stations, suffered a harrowing time as there was no formal announcement that the trains were blocked or stopped.

“In our division, over a dozen trains were affected due to today’s protest. Protestors even attacked one engine that could not stop in time, as it was running at a very high speed. They threw stones at it and broke the window panes,” a railway official of the Ferozepur division told IANS.

“The situation started becoming normal only after 4.30 p.m. and now the rail traffic has become normal in state. We have deployed sufficient security force to keep the situation under control at all railway stations.” he added.

Railway authorities had to stop over half a dozen trains at Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana after mobs blocked railway tracks.

H.K. Jaggi, divisional railway manager (DRM) for the Ambala division, told IANS that the railway authorities had tried to make arrangements to provide food and water to stranded passengers.

The Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) supported the protests. SGPC president Avtar Singh Makkar joined the protesters in Ludhiana.

One of the trains halted by protesters was the Amritsar-New Delhi Swarn Shatabdi Express at the Ludhiana railway station.

The train, which left Amritsar early Friday, was stranded near Ludhiana with over 600 Delhi-bound passengers for over three hours, police officials said.

The Sachkhand Express was also stopped by protesters at Goraya station between Jalandhar and Ludhiana. The Amritsar-Hardwar Jan Shatabdi was halted at Beas town, 40 km from Amritsar.

Railway officials said that some trains were not allowed to leave Jalandhar station.

Over 3,000 Sikhs were killed in Delhi and other places across India in the four days of anti-Sikh riots that broke out following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards Oct 31, 1984.

Sikh organisations have lamented that even 25 years after the carnage, the guilty have not been punished.

Radical Sikh organisations led by Dal Khalsa and Khalsa Action Committee organised a strike in Punjab Nov 3 demanding justice for the riot victims.

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