Rail blockade for Cooch Behar state disrupts train services

Kolkata, Feb 20 (IANS) Train services went haywire for hours following an indefinite rail ‘roko’ (blockade) agitation launched by the Greater Cooch Behar Peoples Association (GCPA) on Saturday to press their demand for statehood or union territory status for Cooch Behar.

Slogan-shouting GCPA activists squatted on the railway tracks in New Cooch Behar station of northern West Bengal since early morning seeking intervention of the union home ministry to resolve the issue.

Several long distance trains were stranded or short terminated due to the agitation, said a Northeast Frontier Railway official.

The Delhi-bound 12435 down/Dibrugarh Town-New Delhi Rajdhani Express via Lucknow and 12423 down /Dibrugarh Town-New Delhi Rajdhani Express via Allahabad was detained at New Bongaigaon station, while 15960 Dibrugarh-Howrah Kampur express was detained at Barpeta Road.

AGCPA leader Bangshi Badan Barman claimed Cooch Behar had enjoyed the status of a C category state for around three months when it was included in India through a pact between the then maharaja of Cooch Behar and the Indian government. However, the West Bengal government then included it into the state as a district.

“We will continue with our movement unless the central government agrees to our demand to make Cooch Behar either a C Category state or a union territory,” said Barman.

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