The Punjab Mail was diverted while another train was short-terminated Monday, prompting charges that it was done to prevent farmers from reaching Delhi to join the ongoing protests against the three new farm laws, even as the Railways said the move was an operational necessity.
Sources said that a group of farmers had boarded the Punjab Mail last night at Ferozepur (in Punjab) and they were to join others who have been protesting against the Central laws at the Delhi borders. The train, which travels via Delhi, was diverted from Rohtak (in Haryana) to Rewari, and further towards its Mumbai route.
"The train was diverted because of operational reasons," a Northern Railways spokesperson said. Another train travelling from Ganganagar in Rajasthan to Old Delhi, via places in Punjab and Haryana, was short-terminated at Bahadurgarh (Haryana).
"Ferozpur Mumbai Punjab Mail diverted from Rohtak to Rewari this morning to prevent about 1,000 farmers from reaching Delhi," Swaraj India Chief Yogendra Yadav posted on Twitter. The Punjab Mail has around a 20-minute halt In Delhi. Starting from Ferozepur in Punjab, the train enters Delhi from Rohtak. New Delhi is the next stop. On Monday, it was rerouted via Rewari in Haryana and then further westward to take the route to Mumbai. Farmers, mostly from Punjab and Haryana, have been camping at Delhi's borders for over two months now, demanding scrapping of the farm laws and a legal guarantee on the minimum support price for crops. After briefly appearing to be fizzling out following the Republic Day violence in Delhi, the farmers' stir against the agri laws seems to be reviving with more and more of farmers groups heading to the national capital from various parts of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.