Ram devotees stage protest at Hosapete after youths threaten to set train on fire

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Devotees staged a protest for nearly two hours at Hosapete railway station.

BENGALURU, BALLARI: An Ayodhya Dham-Mysuru special train was stopped at the Hosapete railway station for nearly two hours on Thursday night after a group of Muslim youths allegedly threatened to set it on fire. The railway police have since arrested one person from the outskirts of Gadag and are on the lookout for the others.

The train, carrying 1,500 Ram devotees, was returning to Mysuru via Jabalpur and Nagpur who were chanting ‘Jai Sri Ram’ along the way. Four Muslim youths who were on the train picked an argument with the other passengers over chanting the slogan and one of them allegedly threatened to set the train on fire.

Police Superintendent Srihari Babu pacifying the protesting passengers at the Hosapete railway station.

Angered by this, the Ram devotees staged a protest at the Hosapete railway station when the youths managed to flee. Police Superintendent Srihari Babu and other senior officials rushed to the railway station and pacified the agitating passengers, after which the train continued its onward journey.

The train arrived at Hosapete around 8.15 pm on Thursday night and restarted its journey only around 10 pm. On getting information about the incident, Hindu activists and BJP workers had rushed to the railway station. A platoon of the district armed reserve (DAR) and fire force has been stationed at the railway station to prevent any untoward incident.

Additional police forces have been deployed at Hosapete railway station.

Speaking to Public TV, some of the devotees who alighted at KSR City railway station in Bengaluru, said, “The train reached Hosapete around 8.20 pm and three Muslim youths entered the S3 coach around 9.30 pm. When the passengers told them that it was a reserved coach, they threatened to set the train on fire and used foul language. The passengers apprehended them and handed them over to the police, but while we were protesting, the police let them off”.

Pilgrims who alighted in Bengaluru narrated the incident.

“While heading to Ayodhya too, some people pelted stones at the train near Nagpur and we had to down to window shutters. It is surprising that we need so much security to see our god in our own country. Is this Bharat? It makes us wonder in which country we are in”, they said.

Meanwhile, railway authorities claimed that a Group-D employee, Sheik Saab, had only passed through the Ayodhya Dham train to get on to a Guntkal-bound train which was on an adjacent track when an argument broke out. Sheik Saab has been arrested and questioned, but there is nothing to establish threats of setting the train on fire, they claimed.

BJP leader Kota Srinivas Poojary raised the issue in the Council on Friday.

In the legislative Council on Friday, BJP leader Kota Srinivas Poojary questioned the government over the law and order situation. “Miscreants barged into the Ayodhya Dham-Mysuru train last night at Hosapete and threatened to set it on fire. But the government has not reacted on the incident so far. Prior to the consecration ceremony at the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Congress leader B K Hariprasad had warned of a Godhra-like incident. It seems like his words are coming true. The accused were held and then released”.

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