Pulwama attack: Protesters block rail tracks, shops shut

PTI
Saturday, 16 February 2019

At Nalasopara, protesters got onto the tracks around 8.20 am and started raising slogans against Pakistan, the officials said, adding that train services on the route were affected due to the protest.

MUMBAI: A group of protesters on Saturday blocked the railway tracks at Nalasopara station in Palghar district of Maharashtra to protest against the terror attack in Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF personnel, officials said.

In several parts of the metropolis, shops were shut in protest and schools held prayer meets as a mark of respect to the CRPF personnel who were killed on Thursday.

At Nalasopara, protesters got onto the tracks around 8.20 am and started raising slogans against Pakistan, the officials said, adding that train services on the route were affected due to the protest.

In a tweet, the Western Railway (WR) said, "Several protesters have blocked the tracks at Nallasopara due to which train movement has been affected at Nallasopara & beyond. GRP, RPF are making efforts to convince the people & evacuate the tracks & normalize the train movement."

Chief spokesperson of the WR, Ravinder Bhakar, said the protest started at 8.20 am when people came on the railway tracks and stopped the movement of trains.

"Trains are not operating between Nalasopara and Virar stations, while services between Vasai to Churchgate are normal. Forces have been called in to disperse the agitating crowd," he said.

The protesters shouted slogans of 'Bharat mata ki jai'. They also raised slogans against Pakistan for the Pulwama terror attack and demanded action against the neighbouring country for sponsoring and sheltering terrorists and terror groups, another official said.

"The agitation is likely to affect the schedule of long-distance trains as well," he added.

According to railway officials, train operations on the section were suspended for almost three hours.

The textile hub in the Kalbadevi area of south Mumbai was the venue of a protest by cloth traders who kept their establishments closed for the day.

"We strongly condemn the horrendous terrorist attack in Pulwama. It is an act of cowardice. We have decided to keep our business shut for the day as a mark of respect for the 40 brave martyrs," said Rajiv Singal, trustee of the Bharat Merchant Chambers.

Shops in Tardeo, Grant Road, Haji Ali were also shut while prayers sessions were held in schools in the metropolis.

The Bombay Yarn Merchants' Association and Exchange Limited also issued a press statement Saturday stating that shops of their members were shut across the city.

Similar protests were also witnessed on Friday with BJP MLA Raj Purohit burning Pakistan's national flag while Shiv Sena MP Gajanan Kirtikar and BJP MLA Bharti Lavekar paid floral tributes in suburban Andheri to the slain CRPF troopers.

On Friday, Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) had organised a candlelight protest march at the civic-run Sion Hospital.

Forty CRPF personnel were killed and five injured in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, when a Jaish-e-Mohammed suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying over 100 kg of explosives into their bus in Pulwama district.

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