Commuters clash over ladies special train in Bengal

Kolkata, Aug 17 (IANS) The movement of trains was disrupted for several hours on Monday after over 20 people including a dozen police personnel were injured in a clash between women and men commuters in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district over the railways decision to mark three coaches of a ladies special suburban train for men.

Enraged over the decision, women commuters staged a demonstration disrupting train services at the Khardaha railway station on the Sealdah-Ranaghat section.

A section of male commuters too resorted to a demonstration demanding coaches in the Mathrubhumi Ladies Special trains that were announced by then railway minister Mamata Banerjee.

The disruption of train services during peak hour led to heated arguments between the male and female commuters which eventually led to many of them pelting stones at each other.

Police had to resort to a baton charge to disperse the unruly crowd.

“At least 12 of our people have received injuries while trying to disperse the crowd. Many commuters and a few Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel were also injured. We have arrested four people including a woman for the incident,” said Barrackpore Commissioner of Police Niraj Kumar Singh.

The demonstrations led to the cancelling of 20 pairs of local trains, and many others were held up at various stations enroute.

The railways say the decision to offer coaches to men passengers was taken as the Mathrubhumi trains were running well below capacity.

“Most of the Mathrubhumi locals are occupied around 30 percent even in the peak hours and a section of women passengers approached the railway administration for permitting male passengers in a few coaches of the ladies special trains for convenience of their accompanying male relatives to board the same train,” said an Eastern Railway spokesperson.

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