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22 May 2017

Denied entry in train, youths rampage through NJP - Examinees vandalise coaches and platform; five trains halted at different stations

The windowpanes of the Awadh Assam Express broken by the  mob;
(below) the platform at the NJP after the vandalism.
Pic Passang Yolmo
TT, Siliguri, May 21: Around 3,000 youths who had come to Siliguri and the surrounding areas to appear for a recruitment exam went on the rampage at New Jalpaiguri station this morning, ransacking the platform and a train whose passengers' refusal to allow the examinees in triggered the violence.
The marauding mob was controlled by the railway protection force and government railway police who chased away the attackers with batons. The North East Frontier Railway arranged a special train which left the NJP station with the examinees around 11am.
According to railway sources, over 3,000 youths, mostly from neighbouring states, reached Siliguri yesterday to appear for a Group D examination conducted by the Bengal government.
"After the test, many of them had been staying at the NJP station since last evening, while other examinees reached the station early this morning. When the Delhi-bound Awadh Assam Express arrived at the station around 7am today, the examinees without tickets tried to barge into the train," said a source.
However, the passengers of Awadh Assam Express resisted the entry of such a huge number of people. The examinees turned to the railway authorities and sought a special train to go to their respective destinations.
As the railway officials didn't heed the plea, the youths resorted to violence. They pelted the Awadh Assam Express with stones and ransacked the platform.
"The mob threw away tyres and boxes from a parcel van on the tracks and later set them alight on the tracks. We had to hold at least five trains at different stations because of the damage to the railway property," said the railway source.
Darjeeling Mail, Padatik Express, Ananda Bihar Express and Sealdah-bound Kamakhya Express were halted at different stations because of the violence.
Parthasarathi Seal, the area manager of the railway at the NJP, said: "We had no intimation from the government that a large number of examinees would come to the NJP. They damaged two engines, an AC coach, and water basins and railway kiosk on the platform. Some passengers were assaulted when they didn't allow the youths to enter the train."
The sources said normalcy was restored after 11am when a special train had left with the examinees.
Md. Saquib, the divisional chief security commissioner of the NFR's Katihar division, however, said further damage could be prevented because of the timely intervention of the force.
"When a mob of over thousand youths attacked trains and ransacked railway properties, we had to intervene to control the situation. Had we not intervened on time and chased the mob from the station, more damage could have happened," he said.
But Saquib said the security forces hadn't resorted to baton-charge.
Murder triggers road blockade
People of Uttar Chikliguri village blocked the state highway connecting Alipurduar with Kamakhyaguri for fiver hours on Sunday, demanding dismantling of illegal hooch shops and alleging inaction of police against the bootleggers. The murder of a grocer, Debesh Rava, allegedly by a bootlegger, triggered the blockade.

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