Train bogeys burnt in anti-Thackeray protests in Bihar (Third Lead)October 22nd, 2008 - 9:53 pm ICT by IANS
Patna, Oct 22 (IANS) Angry mobs, comprising mostly students, Wednesday set ablaze some coaches of three trains, blocked 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.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday evening held a meeting with top officials to take stock of the situation.
He called an all-party meet Thursday evening to discuss the issue and appealed people, particularly students, to maintain peace.
The police said protesters targeted railway stations in Patna, Jehanabad, Barh, Khusrupur, Fatuha, Saharsa, Ara, Sitamarhi, Sasaram, Purnia and Bhagalpur.
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.
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.
Protesters also set ablaze an AC bogie of the Patna-Kosi Express at Athamal Gola in Patna district.
Mobs also broke glass panes of windows of government offices at different places.
The police baton-charged and opened fire to disperse the protesters, but the protests continued.
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).
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