Trains get back on track as Bihar quietens (Lead)

October 24th, 2008 - 4:26 pm ICT by IANS  

Patna, Oct 24 (IANS) Thousands of passengers stranded at various railway stations in Bihar heaved a sigh of relief Friday as the violent protests against attacks by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) in Mumbai ended and trains got back on track. The police said there were stray incidents of protest but no violence.After three days of violent protests that saw railway stations being ransacked and the movement of at least 200 trains affected, a semblance of normalcy returned.

Railways started operating most trains from Patna and Danapur railway stations as reports came in that the situation was under control.

“We have decided to run the trains as the situation is peaceful; stranded passengers should not be inconvenienced any more,” said an official of the railways.

There were token protests continuing in some parts of the state. In Patna, hundreds of slogan shouting students blocked roads and a group of students tried to forcibly shut down a market.

Protests by students were also reported from Bettiah and Gaya districts.

Additional Director General of Police Anil Sinha said: “No violence was reported Friday. Unlike Thursday and Wednesday, it is peaceful and there are no reports of protest.”

On Sunday, MNS workers attacked non-Maharashtrians, particularly those from Bihar, appearing for a railway recruitment examination in Mumbai. Youths who returned to Bihar Tuesday alleged that a candidate, Pawan Kumar, was killed by MNS activists in Mumbai.

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.

On Thursday, an all-party meet called by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar to discuss the volatile situation decided to send a delegation to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil.

Various student organisations have called for a Bihar shutdown Saturday.

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