Ranchi/Bhubaneswar: At least 11 trains were cancelled and 12 others diverted under the jurisdiction of South Eastern Railways (SER) and East Coast Railways (ECoR) in Jharkhand and Odisha respectively in view of an indefinite rail blockade called by Kurmi organisations in three eastern states from Wednesday, officials said.
Several Kurmi bodies have called for an indefinite railway blockade at nine railway stations in Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha from September 20 to press for their demand of Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for the community and inclusion of Kurmali language in the eighth schedule of the Constitution.
The SER cancelled nine express trains and diverted eight others in the Ranchi railway division, a senior official said.
The official said the trains that were supposed to depart from their respective stations on Tuesday and enter Ranchi rail division the next day have either been cancelled or diverted as a precautionary measure.
The ECoR, on the other hand, cancelled two trains and diverted four others.
Sheetal Ohdar, the president of Totemik Kurmi Vikas Morcha (TKVM), a leading Kurmi body in Jharkhand, said that several organisations including Adivasi Kurmi Samaj of West Bengal and Kurmi Sena of Odisha will participate in the stir.
“The indefinite blockade of railway tracks will take place at Muri, Gomoh, Nimdih, Ghagra stations in Jharkhand, Khemasuli and Kustaur in West Bengal, and Harichandanpur, Jaraikela and Dhanpur in Odisha from September 20,” he told reporters here.
“Thousands of people from the Kurmi community, adorned in traditional dress, will participate in the agitation, playing drums and other musical instruments and performing Chhau, Pata, Natuwa and Jhumar dance,” he said.
The Kurmi bodies had staged a five-day blockade of railway tracks from September 20 last year to press for their demand, disrupting railway traffic.
Ohdar urged the MPs from the community to raise the demand during the ongoing special session of Parliament.
Adivasi Kurmi Samaj (AKS) central spokesperson Harmohan Mahto claimed that Kurmis were listed among aboriginal tribes in 1913 during British rule.
“When the Centre notified ST list on September 6, 1950, Kurmis were put in the list of Other Backward Castes (OBC) in West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha,” he claimed.
“Kurmis have been tribal since ancient times,” Mahto said, claiming that their population in the three states is estimated to be more than two crores