“A 400-strong mob, protesting against the East Central Railways move to discontinue the New Delhi-Rajgir Shramjivi Express’s stop at Khusrupur station in Danapur Division, and set ablaze six passenger coaches on two trains, the Danapur-Jainagar Intercity Express and the Rajgir-Danapur passenger, and ransacked and torched the station. ”
At least 30 passengers were injured in the stampede as they rushed out of the burning station.
The Railways rolled back the order and restored the stop.
The air-conditioned coach of Danapur-Darbhanga Intercity Express was set on fire at Fathua station near Patna. People were angry that the Shramajivi Express would no longer halt at other stations.
However Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee has denied that she ordered the cancellation of the halts.
Destroying public property in general, and torching trains in particular, has become an accepted form of protest in India.
Just a few days ago, there were protests in Punjab and some parts of Haryana “after Sant Ramanand of Dera Sachkhand, injured in an attack in Vienna on Sunday, died in hospital.”
“Angry Dera followers took to the streets, torching at least 11 train coaches and an engine, stoning buses, blocking traffic and clashing with police at several places.”
In October last year “there were violent protests in Bihar against the killing of Pavan Kumar, who was brutally assaulted by MNS activists.”
Thankfully no one was injured.
While no one can dispute the Right to Protest of the people in a Democracy, must it always take the form of destruction of public property? Since public property belongs to all of us, are we not in effect, cutting off our own nose to spite our face?
Perhaps we can put in place a system whereby an large empty ground outside every major city would be set aside for protests.
We could have actual-sized cardboard models of trains placed there. Protesters would be allowed to set them on fire.
They could shout and curse. They could burn effigies of whichever political figures they liked.
And then, their anger spent, they could return home without having destroyed Lakhs of Rupees worth of public property.
This plan, or any other similar one should be put into place as early as possible.
Otherwise the wilful destruction of public property- in effect, our own property, belonging to the people of India- will continue.