Farmers' rail roko agitation: No trains arrive in Narela post noon, cops guard station

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New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) The Narela railway station in Delhi was witness to an unusual sight on Thursday -- hundred-odd police personnel and about 20 people dotted its platforms but none was expecting a train anytime soon.

With farmers blocking tracks in different parts of Punjab and Haryana as part of their 'rail roko' agitation against the Centre's three farm laws, no train arrived at the Narela station post noon.

According to a senior police officer, the trains scheduled to arrive at Narela were stopped by the protesting farmers in Haryana's Sonepat.

'Jhelum Express passed the station in the morning, and no train arrived after that,' the police officer said.

He added that approximately 100 personnel drawn from the local police and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) have been deployed at the railway station to respond to any eventuality during the agitation.

Station Superintendent H S Tyagi said, 'One train coming from Bathinda (in Punjab) that was scheduled to arrive here at 11:30 hours has been stopped somewhere before Sonepat, and other trains coming from Kurukshetra, Panipat and Ambala, will be affected. Things are expected to go back to normal after 4 pm when the farmers call off their rail roko event.' He, however, said the 'rail roko' has not affected passenger movement at Narela and the number of people arriving and departing the station was more or less similar.

The Delhi Police on Thursday tightened security in several parts of the national capital, especially near railway tracks, in view of the 'rail roko' (rail blockade) called by the farmer groups protesting against the Centre's new agri laws.

The Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), an umbrella body of farmer unions which is spearheading the protest, last week had announced the nationwide rail blockade to press for its demand to repeal the legislations and had said that the agitation will be from 12 pm to 4 pm.

The railways has deployed 20 additional companies of the Railway Protection Special Force across the country, with focus on Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, following the 'rail roko' call.

Earlier, farmer unions had called a 'chakka jam' on February 6 and a 'tractor parade' in Delhi on January 26, during which a section of protesters clashed with police, overturned vehicles while some hoisted a religious flag from the ramparts of the Red Fort.

Farmers, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, are protesting at Delhi's borders against the legislations since November 28 last year and demanding these be repealed.

Their agitation is against the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, the Farmers Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. PTI TRS SMN