Saturday, March 19, 2016

By Express News Service   18th March 2016 

A station master enters the Route Relay Interlocking cabin after the locked door was opened at Bengaluru Railway Station on Thursday

BENGALURU: All trains arriving and departing from the City railway station were delayed from 6.45 pm on Thursday till midnight as the South Western Railway Mazdoor Union (SWRMU) announced a flash strike and locked the signalling centre on Platform 7.

The strike was to protest the arrest of two railway employees at Hubballi in the afternoon by the Government Railway Police in connection with the collapse of the parcel office there recently.

While Divisional Secretary, SWRMU, K V Raghavendra, who was seen spearheading the agitation, along with other members vehemently denied involvement of his members in preventing operations, many eyewitnesses to the incident said station masters operating inside the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) Cabin were ordered to leave the office and it was locked from outside by Union members. 

Without any signal given to either incoming or outgoing trains from 6.40 pm to 7.45 pm, all train operations at the City station came to a standstill.

Union members were shouting slogans in support of the duo arrested in Hubballi: N V Singh, Senior Section Engineer, and Ravindra Biradar, Assistant Divisional Engineer. Over 200 railway employees of all cadres could also be seen on the platform with the Railway Police Force on the standby to avert untoward incidents.

Divisional Railway Manager, Bengaluru Division, Sanjiv Agarwal, and Divisional Railway Manager (Works) Lakshman Singh pacified the agitators and the locked cabin was opened and station masters were allowed to resume their work.

Agarwal said, “A third FIR has been filed in connection with the collapse of the parcel office by the widow of one of the deceased on Thursday in which 6 top railway officials have been named. The protest is to show support to the arrests carried out today.”

“Since the RRI cabin was locked with the staff outside, signal clearance could not be carried out.” Singh said.

Meanwhile, Raghavendra, said, “This was a token protest. The idea is to show our moral support to the railway employees who were suddenly arrested while on duty.” He stressed, “We have not done anything. It was not our intention to disrupt anything.” Employees of all cadres voluntarily took part in the protest, he added.


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