It was a harrowing experience for office goers in Mumbai on Tuesday morning as the local train services on the Central Line of the suburban train network was crippled by hundreds of job aspirants who took to tracks alleging promises made to them were not fulfilled.
The protests that started at 7 am went on for more than four hours blocking the rail track between Matunga and Dadar. Reports said that the protesters even pelted stones following which police personnel resorted to lathicharge. Speaking to Zee News, some of the protesters said that they suffered injuries during the police action.
The aspirants were demanding employment in Central Railways, claiming they had already cleared the examinations for the same. However, Railways later clarified that they had not appeared in any examination, adding that they had just gone for apprenticeship in workshops.
Though the protests were called off shortly after 10.30 am, the damage had been done by then as over 60 trains were cancelled leaving office goers stranded during rush hour. Mumbai’s Central Line being the busiest, over two lakh commuters reportedly failed to reach their respective destinations on time.
What added to the woes of Mumbaikars was the ongoing strike by Ola and Uber cab drivers, who began their strike on Monday. There were reports of some taxis plying, but with hiked fare. On its part, the railways announced that the commuters on Central Line could travel on Western and Harbour line trains on the same ticket. It also released a helpline emergency number to help the commuters.
The protesters earlier said that they would not end their protest unless Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal met them and assured jobs. "We will not budge from here until and unless Railway Minister Piyush Goyal come and meet us. Our several prayers made to DRM (Divisional Railway Manager of Mumbai Division) have failed," one of the protesters said.
"There has been no recruitment since last four years. We are struggling from pillars to post. Over 10 students have committed suicide. We cannot let such things happen," said another aspirant.
Claiming that more than 10 aspirants had committed suicide over the issue, the protesters demanded one time settlement from General Manager’s quota.
"There has been no recruitment since last four years. We are struggling from pillars to post. Over 10 students have committed suicide. We cannot let such things happen," a student who was part of the protest said.
Aspirant shouted slogans against railways and held placard in their hands demanding one-time settlement.