Railway property worth Rs 80 crore was damaged in protests against the citizenship law and compensation for the same will be recovered from those involved in arson and violence, the Chairman of the Railway Board said today. The statement comes only days after the UP government sent similar notices demanding that protesters pay compensation for damage to public property in last week’s violence. Nearly 28 people were asked to pay Rs 14.86 lakh for and two days later members of the Muslim community in Bulandshahr in western UP reportedly handed over a cheque for Rs 6.27 lakh.
“There has been damage of railway property worth Rs 80 crore during anti-CAA protests. Of this, the Eastern Railway suffered damage worth Rs 70 crore and the damage suffered by the Northeast Frontier Railway was worth Rs 10 crore,” Vinod Kumar Yadav, Railway Board Chairman, was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
“The damage – panels were set on fire, signalling systems were damaged – will be recovered from those involved in arson and violence. This, however, is a preliminary estimate and the figure could go up after the final analysis,” Mr Yadav said, adding, “The RPF (Railway Police Force) is coordinating with state governments to identify culprits. Once identified, efforts will be made to recover the damage”.
A fortnight ago Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath his government would seize “properties of those involved in damaging public assets” as means of compensation for violence in Lucknow and Sambhal. The property would be auctioned off to pay for damages, he said.
Earlier this month five empty trains were set on fire at a railway station in Bengal’s Murshidabad district, which comes under the control of Eastern Railway. Hundreds of people also set parts of a station in Howrah district on fire. In addition stations in Sujnipara and Malda districts were also vandalised.
Railway property was also vandalised in Assam, where Northeast Frontier Railway also suffered losses because of cancelled trains.
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal demanded strict action from Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee; Mr Yadav said today the state was working to resolve the situation and “recoveries will be made”.
According to news agency ANI, those guilty of damaging railway property could be charged under relevant sections of the Indian Railway Act, which allows for a maximum prison term of seven years.
With input from PTI, ANI