CHENNAI: On the first day of the agitation called by the PMK demanding 20 per cent reservation for Vanniyars, partymen picketed railway tracks in two places between Tambaram and Vandalur, resulting in disruption of train services for more than six hours on the Chennai – Chengalpattu section. Four express trains were delayed for two hours and over 30 workmen suburban specials suspended between Tambaram and Chengalpattu.
The PMK supporters placed long rail bars, empty electrical junction boxes, sand bags and iron barricades on the tracks obstructing train movement near Tambaram railway station. In another incident, partymen pelted stones at the Chennai-bound Ananthapuri Express between Vandalur and Perungalathur, damaging the locomotive.
“Video footage emerging from various places is being investigated and two FIRs had been registered. As many as 50 persons who participated in stone pelting incidents and a number of people involved in another incident have been identified. The miscreants will be booked under the relevant sections of the railways act for sabotaging railway property,” P Rajan, Superintendent of Police, GRP, Chennai, told The New Indian Express.
On Tuesday, at around 7:45 am, vehicles with PMK flags entering Chennai from neighbouring districts were allegedly stopped by the police at Perungalathur junction. This led to an altercation between police and PMK cadres.
As a result, a large number of vehicles piled up on the Tambaram-Tiruchy NH road. Meanwhile, a group of PMK supporters who were struck in the traffic between Perungalathur and Vandalur suddenly entered the railway track which runs parallel to the Tambaram-Tiruchy NH.
Video footage emerging from the site revealed that about 30 persons picketed the railway track holding PMK flags, pelted stones and track ballast at the approaching train -- the Kollam-Chennai Egmore Ananthapuri Express.
Upon seeing the protesters on the track, the loco pilots blew continuous horns. Even as the brake was applied, the train stopped very close to the agitators. There were two motor men in the locomotive and over 1500 passengers travelled on the train. In this incident, the headlights and windscreen of the locomotive were damaged. Police rushed to the spot and dispersed the crowd. The train left the place after 10 minutes.
Simultaneously, another group of PMK men picketed the railway track near Tambaram station. They lifted a 20-metre-long rail bar and placed it on the track blocking two lines. They also took iron barricades and an empty electrical junction box from the Tambaram – Tiruchy NH and placed it on the tracks. The mob also took the sand bags stocked near the track for laying the third line between Tambaram and Chengalpattu and dumped it on the tracks.
Following this, suburban specials operated in Tambaram – Chengalpattu stopped at stations en route. The workmen special from Chengalpattu to Tambaram was suspended between 8 am till 2 pm.
Four superfast trains – Madurai – Chennai special, Karaikudi – Chennai special, Rameswaram – Manduadih special and Kollam – Chennai Ananthapuri specials have been delayed for two hours. During the return journey, Madurai and Karaikudi specials from Chennai Egmore operated late by two hours.