Eleven bogies of a Delhi-bound train were torched at Haathras junction by angry locals, protesting closing down of a nearby railway station. But all the passengers are reportedly safe.
The protesters also indulged in heavy brickbatting near the junction, some 350 km from Lucknow, leaving 25 policemen injured.
Eleven coaches of the Mahananda Express, going from Kanpur to Delhi, were set ablaze and the station building was damaged by the agitators, a North-Central railway spokesperson said.Superintendent of Police P (Haathras) S R S Aditya said all the passengers were safe, as they had disembarked from the bogies before they were set on fire.
He said the police had a hard time dousing the flames as demonstrators indulged in heavy brick batting. Rail traffic on Kanpur-Delhi route remained disrupted for several hours due to the agitation, the police said.
To disperse the unruly mob, police resorted to cane charge and fired several rounds in air, police said, adding heavy force, including Provincial Armed Constabulary, has been deployed to avert further trouble.
Trouble broke out when police tried to remove the demonstrators staging a protest since last week against abolition of Haathras Road railway station, adjacent to the main junction.
Irked with the police action, the protesters indulged in heavy brick batting in which some policemen were injured. Police resorted to cane charge and fired several rounds in the air, which aggravated the situation and the protesters went on rampage, torching five bogies of the train.
Senior officials, including District Magistrate Pragya Ram Mishra and SP S R S Aditya have reached the spot to ascertain the situation. Aditya claimed that 20 persons have been detained in this connection.
Meanwhile, senior railway officials have also reached the spot and passengers of the train were being sent to Aligarh by road.