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Rail fare hike: Protesters hit streets, demand roll back

Saturday, 21 June 2014 - 9:56pm IST | Agency: PTI

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Hundreds of activists and leaders of major opposition parties today took to the streets, staging sit-ins and blocking road and rail traffic in several parts of the country to protest the steep hike in passenger fares and freight rates.

Demanding an immediate roll back of the hike, they said the massive increase in passengers fares would fuel inflation further burdening the common people.

Scores of Congress workers, led by party's Delhi unit president Arvinder Singh Lovely, held a demonstration in West Delhi slamming the Narendra Modi government for increasing the fares bypassing Parliament.

The protests caused traffic snarl-ups as police used water cannons when the demonstrators tried to break the barricades.

"It is a massive hike. How can they increase the fair just couple of weeks before the Budget Session of Parliament.

"People who used to talk about 'achche din' (good days) before the elections are now talking about bitter medicines," Lovely said.

He threatened the Congress would launch a "rail roko" stir if the decision was not rescinded.

The Delhi unit of the CPI(M) also staged a protest outside the Rail Bhawan.

Clashes erupted between Samjwadi Party and BJP workers in front of the Uttar Pradesh legislative assembly in Lucknow with the rival groups hurling stones at each other over the hike in rail fares.

Staging a protest before the Vidhan Sabha, located opposite the BJP office, the SP workers torched an effigy of Modi and shouted slogans.

The BJP alleged the SP workers tore down their posters and pelted stones at the party office while the latter charged the saffron party activists with hurling bricks at them.

"Though 3 or 4 policemen were injured in the clash, we have no report of injuries from either side," SHO Hazratganj said.

Elsewhere in the state, Congress and SP workers squatted on rail tracks, chanted slogans against the Central government and demanded an immediate roll back of the hike. 

The SP workers also burnt Modi's effigy in front of the Kashi Railway station in his home turf Varanasi.

In Allahabad, scores of flag-waving and slogan-shouting SP protesters thronged the Prayag Railway station forcing the Ganga-Gomti passenger train to halt for close to half-an-hour.

In Varanasi, SP workers protested at the Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth University where Minister of State for Railways Manoj Sinha was attending a function and showed him black flags.
In West Bengal, Congress and CPI(M) workers and leaders protested against the hike and accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of pursuing anti-people policies.
SUCI members also demonstrated outside the Raj Bhawan and clashed with police.

Protesting the hike, Youth Congress activists blocked trains at various places in Kerala.

The workers blocked the Kanyakumari-bound Island Express from Bangalore at nearby Aluva Station and raised slogans.
Similar protests were held at Thiruvananthapuram Central station.

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