Train services between Assam and North Bengal were disrupted on Monday due to an 11-hour railway blockade called by Adivasi National Convention Committee (ANCC).
The ANCC agitators, however, withdrew their blockade after five hours and train services resumed after assurance from Kokrajhar deputy commissioner Bivekananda Choudhury that the Assam government will take up their demand with the Centre for tripartite talks at the earliest.
In North Bengal, many important trains were held up at the stations.
Hundreds of members of different adivasi organisations joined the protest rally and blocked the
railway tracks from 6 am at Kokrajhar Railway Station demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for their community.
Due to the blockade, Up Rajendra Nagar Express was stalled at Alipurduar Junction, Up Saraighat Express was held at New Alipurduar and Up Lokmanya Tilak Express was held up at New Cooch Behar.
The committee is demanding inclusion of Santhals, Oraons, Mundas, Kharias, Gonds, Sawras, Kishans, Lohrahs, Kols, Bhils, Porjas, Bedias and Mirdhas in the ST list.
Their other demands included adivasi ceasefire groups for political negotiations, allotment of land and rehabilitation of evicted adivasi traditional forest dwellers in Assam, and permanent allotment of land and deeds to the tea garden workers in the state.
However, the passengers whose trains were stranded on the track had a harrowing time.
Most of the passengers could not get drinking water and some of them also took ill.
“It was a really uncomfortable situation. Some of the passengers were not much affected because
they were young. But the old people faced a lot of problems,” said one of the affected passengers.