Kurmi community’s ‘Rail Roko’ protest for ST status enters Day 2
Jamshedpur, Sep 21: People from the Kurmi community in West Bengal continued their ‘Rail Roko’ protest in Purulia for the second day on Wednesday over their demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
The stir that began on Tuesday has affected train services in several parts of Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal as thousands of people flocked to the railway tracks of the South Eastern Railway and blocked the rail route in Kharagpur, Khemasuli, and Purulia.
Train services of South Eastern Railway have been severely affected due to agitation by a group of people at Kustaur and Nimdih Railway stations of Adra Division, Khemasuli and Bhanjpur stations of Kharagpur Division and Aunlajori station of Chakradharpur Division since September 20 morning.
According to South Eastern Railway, the agitation is still continuing at Kastaur and Khemasuli stations. As a result, 55 Mail/Express & Passenger trains have been cancelled. Apart from this, 37 trains have been short terminated/short originated, 40 trains have been diverted and 2 trains have been rescheduled.
Senior officers of Railways are at site to monitor the situation at railway stations and are co-ordinating with the state government.
Under a collaborative attempt of five different outfits of Jungle Mahal region, the protesters have demanded the intervention of the state as well as the Central government for including the Kurmali language in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and granting the status of Scheduled Tribe to the community.
Seeking fulfilment of their demands, the agitators blocked railway tracks.
Members of the community claimed that their Scheduled Tribe status was withdrawn after independence for unknown reasons, despite the fact that they were registered for the same till 1931.
Earlier on March 16, 2021, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MLAs held a protest at the Jharkhand Assembly premises in Ranchi demanding the inclusion of Kurmis in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.
“For many days, we have been demanding the inclusion of Kurmi caste in the Scheduled Tribes category. We want the state government to work on it soon,” Indrajit Mahato, BJP MLA from Sindri had said.