COOCH BEHAR: The Greater Cooch Behar People's Association today lifted its 'rail roko' agitation demanding Union Territory status or C category statehood for Cooch Behar district on the fourth day today.
This was announced by the GCPA supremo Bangshi Badan Barman after the police arrested the activists late this afternoon. The lifting of the rail blockade at the New Cooch Behar railway station on Cooch Behar-New Jalpaiguri section was preceded by sporadic clashes between the police and the agitators.
According to the police, the agitators pelted stones from railway lines on the security personnel keeping watch on the agitators. The police retaliated with firing teargas shells and lathicharge, injuring several persons on both sides. In the late afternoon today, a huge contingent of police force gathered at the New Cooch Behar station to disperse the agitators.
Cooch Behar District Magistrate P Ulaganathan asked the GCPA activists over loudspeaker to vacate the spot terming the blockade as illegal. As this produced no result, the police then surrounded the agitators from three sides and arrested them including the GCPA central committee leader Bhabesh Barman.
The police operation continued for half an hour before Bangshi Badan Barman announced the lifting of the agitation. He, however, denied that the GCPA activists had pelted stones at the police.
The agitation began at 6 AM on Saturday when the activists squatted on tracks near the New Cooch Behar station, affecting railway link to the Northeast. All trains from the region except the Dibrugarh- Guwahati-New Delhi Rajdhani Express were cancelled today, a spokesman of the North Eastern Frontier Railway said in Guwahati.
The Rajdhani Express was diverted via Siliguri-New Jalpaiguri section, the spokesman said. A 29-year-old man had died on Sunday after falling ill in the Kanchenjungha Express which was stranded for several hours in Cooch Behar due to the stir.