Purulia (West Bengal) [India], September 21 (ANI): People from the Kurmi community in West Bengal continued their 'Rail Roko' protest in Purulia for the second day on Wednesday over their demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
The stir that began on Tuesday has affected train services in several parts of Jharkhand, Odisha, and West Bengal as thousands of people flocked to the railway tracks of the South Eastern Railway and blocked the rail route in Kharagpur, Khemasuli, and Purulia.
Under a collaborative attempt of five different outfits of Jungle Mahal region, the protesters have demanded the intervention of the state as well as the Central government for including the Kurmali language in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and granting the status of Scheduled Tribe to the community.
Seeking fulfilment of their demands, the agitators blocked railway tracks.
Members of the community claimed that their Scheduled Tribe status was withdrawn after independence for unknown reasons, despite the fact that they were registered for the same till 1931.
Because of the Rail Roko protest of the community, the transport system in the district has almost come to a standstill.
The passengers of various long-distance trains are suffering ahead of the Rail Roko programme of the Kurmi Tribal community as they have been halted at different stations.
The South-Bihar Express train Howrah-Chakradharpur Express train is halted at the Adra junction, while Bokaro-Bardhaman Steelcity Passenger is currently at the Purulia Railway Station.
Bardhaman-Bokaro, Asansol-Ranchi, Purulia-Adra MEMU Passenger, Adra-Barkakhana Passenger, and Adra-Bokaro Passenger trains stood cancelled amid the protests.
Ajit Prasad Mahat, spokesperson of Adivasi Kurmi Samaj, said that the passengers were already informed about "today's programme" of protest.
Meanwhile, bus services at Purulia-Barakar State Road No.5 were also brought to a halt.
Earlier on March 16, 2021, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MLAs held a protest at the Jharkhand Assembly premises in Ranchi demanding the inclusion of Kurmis in the Scheduled Tribes (ST) category.
"For many days, we have been demanding the inclusion of Kurmi caste in the Scheduled Tribes category. We want the state government to work on it soon," Indrajit Mahato, BJP MLA from Sindri had said. (ANI)