IANS

As the people of the Kurmi community intensify their rail and road blockade agitations in support of their long-standing demand for recognition under the Scheduled Tribe category, the Railways has been forced to cancel as many 188 trains for Sunday (April 9) and Monday (April 10).

The cancelled trains include both local as well as express, including premium trains, like Howrah Duronto Express and Shatabdi Express among others. Of the 188 trains cancelled for these two days, 95 trains were for Sunday, while the remaining 93 trains were scheduled for Monday.

On Saturday also, as many 75 trains in the South-Eastern division of the Railways were cancelled because of the ongoing agitation that started on April 5.

Sources in the Railways said that with these 188 fresh cancellations, the total number of trains cancelled since April 5 will be 496. In addition to that the routes of a number of trains had either to be diverted or curtailed amid the agitation.

Meanwhile on Saturday evening, the South-Eastern Railways authorities sent a communication to the West Bengal government seeking help of the state police forces in removing the railway blockade jointly with Government Railway Police (GRP) and Railway Protection Force (RPF).

State government sources said that a reply to this communique from the South-Eastern Railways authority has also been sent from the state secretariat where the latter clearly said that if the Railways authorities desire, they can take necessary action and the state government will not have any objection to that.

The Kurmi community is agitating in support of its long-standing demand for recognition under the Schedule Tribe category. Their main grievance is that the West Bengal Cultural Research Institute, a state government body that works for indigenous tribes, is yet to recognise the Kurmis as representatives of primitive tribes.

Representatives of the community have alleged that the reluctance of the Institute as well as the state government to send a comprehensive report in this matter to the Union government is hampering the process of recognition of the Kurmi community under the ST category.

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