Mumbai: MNS protest exposes railways' porous borders
MNS members enter suburban stations, travel in trains without authorisation; demand that local trains be resumed for everyone at once
The suburban railway's porous borders got exposed on Monday as Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) members led by Sandeep Deshpande flouted regulations and travelled on a local train on Monday afternoon. A number of MNS members from Thane and Dombivli were detained by police.
"We had warned the government that we will protest. We are travelling in train as promised," said Deshpande in a number of videos on social media. Sources said that MNS' railway union helped Deshpande achieve this. While Thane MNS leader Avinash Jadhav was detained by the Government Railway Police (GRP), a few MNS members who took a Thane-bound local at Vashi were detained at Rabale. There were protests outside Dombivli station too. Railway authorities and police registered cases against the activists for the violations.
MNS members protest at Dombivli station
"One may guard stations and all entry points at all times but the entire section is porous. It is the reality that anyone can come in from anywhere, anytime, unlike the access-controlled Metro. This protest has only exposed that," a passenger activist told mid-day.
A Central Railway (CR) spokesperson said that this is why checks are being conducted at stations and those found violating permissions are detained and penalised. "The restrictions are for the greater good and to control the pandemic. The railways have been working closely with the Maharashtra government and permitting access to all those authorised. These are stressful times for everyone and we appeal everyone to follow the guidelines," he said.
MNS leader Sandeep Deshpande inside a train
The MNS took to the trains demanding that the state government understand the perils of the common man and open up suburban train services for everyone. Citizens blame the State for the imbalance as the latest Unlock guidelines increased permissible workforce at offices but did not provide enough transport.
BJP MP raises issue in Parliament
BJP MP from north-east Mumbai, Manoj Kotak, raised the issue of restarting local trains in Parliament on Monday. "Also, existing trains should be given a halt at Vikhroli and Bhandup, which have a large number of essential workers" he said.
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