Trains between West Bengal and Northeast have come to a complete halt with the Eastern Railway suspending all its services to the northern region of the state due to protests over the amended citizenship law, officials said on Monday.
Eastern Railway (ER) spokesperson Nikhil Chakraborty said no train was running beyond Malda district in West Bengal. Officials said all trains originating from Howrah, Sealdah and Kolkata stations towards north Bengal have been suspended till further notice keeping in mind the safety and security of passengers.
However, they said, trains from these three stations to destinations outside the state were running as usual. Local, passenger and express trains remained suspended in Krishnanagar-Lalgola, Azimganj-New Farakka, Nalhati-Azimganj, Sealdah-Budge Budge sections. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) had suspended all trains last week as protests spread over the amended Citizenship Act, but some services have been resumed, NFR CPRO Subhanan Chanda said.
All trains from the NFR zone to the ER zone have been cancelled on Monday in view of the situation in West Bengal, these include 19 long-distance trains. He said from December 13 night trains going towards Silchar and Agartala resumed, while the Dibrugarh Rajdhani resumed regular service the next day. Trains coming from Delhi are no longer being short-terminated at Guwahati, he said.
"All trains going to their destinations from the Northeast, including Brahmaputra Mail, Awadh-Assam Express, North East Express and Sampark Kranti Express are being diverted through Alipurduar and Katihar, instead of Malda," Chanda said.
However, he said local train services in NFR remained suspended except in Barak Valley and Agartala. Trains going towards south India from NFR zone also remain suspended. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that just because a few trains were set on fire, the Centre has stopped railway services in most parts of the state.
Protests over the amended Citizenship Act reached the shores of West Bengal on Friday, with agitators resorting to violence and arson at railway stations and thoroughfares across the state, seeking immediate revocation of the law. They also set on fire some empty rakes. Hundreds of passengers were stranded in several stations as many trains were cancelled.