Students ransack 4 railway stations in Bihar, battle police (Lead)October 25th, 2008 - 1:47 pm ICT by IANS
Patna, Oct 25 (IANS) Hundreds of slogan shouting students ransacked at least four railway stations, blocked rail traffic and threw stones at the police in various Bihar towns Saturday as part of a shutdown called by students’ organisations to protest last Sunday’s attacks on non-Maharashtrians in Mumbai.Various student organisations have given a call for a Bihar shutdown to protest the attacks in Mumbai and elsewhere by Maharashtra Navnirnam Sena (MNS) activists on non-Maharashtrian candidates appearing for railway recruitment examinations.
Over 150 students were arrested across the state and some student leaders were also taken into custody early Saturday.
“In Patna alone, 20 to 25 students were arrested,” a police official said.
The officials said hundreds of students attacked and ransacked Darbhanga and Bettiah-Narkatiaganj railway stations. Some students also created trouble at Lakhisarai railway station and blocked an express train at Buxar railway station to enforce the shutdown.
“Police twice baton-charged the students at Darbhanga railway station but failed to disperse them. The situation is tense,” a police official said.
Early Saturday morning students virtually laid siege to Sheikhpura railway station, 100 km from here, and ransacked it. Police used batons to charge at the crowd after the students threw stones at them, district police officials said.
There are reports of protests in Gaya, Begusarai, Ara and Muzaffarpur towns Saturday afternoon.
In Patna, the situation was calm Saturday morning, with heavy deployment of security forces. Traffic on the roads was normal, but most educational institutions remained closed. Anticipating trouble, the district administration had deployed extra police and security forces all around.
“We have deployed additional 5,000 police personnel and directed them to use force against trouble makers and not allow anyone to create violence,” Patna Senior Superintendent of Police Amit Kumar told IANS here.
On Wednesday, students’ organisations had demanded that ministers and parliamentarians from Bihar resign en masse over the issue.
On Friday, hundreds of slogan shouting students blocked roads and attempted to forcibly shut down shops in Patna. Protests by students were also reported from Motihari, Bettiah, Sheikhpura and Gaya districts.
After three days of widespread violent protests that saw railway stations being ransacked and the movement of at least 200 trains affected, a semblance of normalcy had returned Friday.
The railways started operating most trains from Patna and Danapur railway stations. But they continued to run behind time.
In the last five days, over half a dozen complaints have been filed across Bihar against MNS chief Raj Thackeray for the attacks against non-Maharashtrians.
The father of Pawan Kumar, a youth who was allegedly killed by MNS activists in Mumbai, filed a murder case against Raj Thackeray Friday in the court of chief judicial magistrate in Biharsharif, the district headquarters of Nalanda, about 100 km from here, court officials said.
Earlier, the police at Patna railway station filed a first information report (FIR) against Raj Thackeray and his supporters for the assault on students from Bihar.