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Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday appealed to the agitators in West Bengal and Haryana to lift rail blockades and not damage railway property. “I appeal to all the demonstrators in West Bengal and Haryana  they may have genuine grievances  not to block rail tracks as a means of protest,” Mr. Prabhu said at an event near the city airport where he inaugurated a number of projects.
His comments come at a time when protesters demanding Statehood or Union Territory status are blocking the tracks in Cooch Behar and members of the Jat community are staging rail blockades in Haryana demanding reservation in jobs and educational institutions.
Describing the right to demonstrate as a “democratic right,” the Minister urged the protesters to think about passengers who could not afford any other modes of transport apart from rail. The Minister urged the protesters not to damage or burn Railway property and said that to repair such damage to property the Railways had to use a lot of funds, which hampered introduction of additional services.
“Due to the agitation in Haryana the Railways have lost very precious property. If you burn Railway property then forget additional services. It will be difficult even to strengthen the present infrastructure,” Mr. Prabhu said.
Despite the appeal, the protesters in Cooch Behar continued to block railway lines.

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