Mumbai: Hundreds of irate commuters staged a rail roko at the Diva railway station, which soon turned violent, after an overhead equipment failure affected train services on Friday.
According to railway police sources, a pantograph of an up-slow local train got entangled with an overhead wire resulting in damage to the wire, and as a result, the up-slow line had to stop for some time at around 7:30 am on Friday. Furious commuters staged a rail roko on the tracks and the crowd, which kept swelling in size, soon became 700 to 800 strong. Some of the commuters pelted stones at passing trains, injuring a motorman in the process.
The railway police immediately contacted the Thane police for reinforcements and started trying to control the mob, and had to resort to a mild lathi charge, which further angered the commuters. At least one vehicle was set on fire outside the station, and some ATVM machines were uprooted and thrown on the tracks.
By 12:40 pm, another rail roko had started at the Dombivli railway station, with the police trying to disperse the mob.
Varsha Param, a commuter travelling from Dombivali, despite starting her journey at 8 am in the morning, the protest at Diva forced her to return back to Dombivali after waiting for hours. “All the trains have halted between Diva and Kopa. There is so much crowd at Diva platform that it got difficult to even walk,” she said.
Jayesh Kanade said, “I had to go for my HSC prelimnary exams in Ghatkopar. But the delay in trains was so long that I missed my paper. I had to return back to Dombivali.”