Anti-Thackeray protests in Bihar, trains targeted (Second Lead)

October 22nd, 2008 - 6:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Raj ThackerayPatna, Oct 22 (IANS) Angry mobs, comprising mostly students, Wednesday set ablaze three trains, disrupted railway traffic and damaged public property in various parts of Bihar in protest against assaults on Biharis by Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) activists in Maharashtra.The police said the protesters targeted Patna, Jehanabad, Barh, Khusrupur, Fatuha, Saharsa, Ara, Sasaram, Purnia and Bhagalpur railway stations.

More areas saw protests and protesters vandalized the Saharsa, Fatuha and Ara railway stations. They also broke glass panes of windows of government offices at different places.

The rail traffic on the Delhi-Howrah link was the worst hit. The police opened fire and cane-charged a mob in Sasaram where a track was blocked disrupting railway traffic on the Delhi-Howrah route, according to police.

Some protesters tried to set ablaze a train in Sasaram and threw stones at security forces, railway sources said.

Two AC and four general coaches of the Durg-Danapur Express were set ablaze at the Barh railway station. The protesting students also damaged ticket counters and vandalised platforms there.

The police baton-charged and opened fire to disperse the protesters, but the protests continued.

Protesters also set ablaze an AC bogie of the Patna-Kosi Express at Athamal Gola in Patna district.

The students were protesting the attacks by MNS activists on north Indian candidates, particularly from Bihar, who were appearing at a railway recruitment examination in Mumbai Sunday.

Youths who returned to Bihar Tuesday after being assaulted in Mumbai alleged that a candidate was killed by Raj Thackeray-led MNS supporters in Mumbai.

Pawan Kumar, 25, a resident of Bara-Khurd village in Nalanda district, about 100 km from here, was one of the hundreds of students from Bihar appearing for the exam in Maharashtra.

Police at the Patna railway station have filed a first information report (FIR) against Thackeray and his supporters for the assault on the students from Bihar.

“A case was registered on the basis of the statement of the students who returned here Tuesday after being assaulted by MNS activists,” said D.N. Gupta, superintendent railway police (Patna).

The Jehanabad, Bhagalpur, Purnia and Sasaram railway stations were also targeted. At the Khusrupur railway station, an agitated mob delinked the engine of an express train blocking the traffic.

According to the railway police, at least 25 students were detained in the morning from various places and extra security was deployed to control the situation.

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