Mumbai literally came to a halt and thousands of passengers were left stranded on stations after some commuters protesting over the frequent train delays became violent and indulged in stone pelting on Friday morning at Diva station.
The rioting began around 8.30 am after the trains on the Central line between Diva and Mumbra were delayed. Agitated by the delays, several commuters got onto the railway tracks on Diva station. The protests soon grew violent after commuters got into a scuffle with the railway personnel.
With angry protesters indulging in stone pelting and damaging public property, the Central railway officials cancelled the entire rail services on Harbour and Central lines. The protesters occupied all the four lines on the fast and slow corridor between Diva and Mumbra.
A Hindustan Times report stated that the police had to resort to lathi-charge to disperse the violent protesters. A local TV footage showed an angry mob vandalising the ticket window at Dombivli station on the Central line and a few automatic ticket vending machines (ATVM) being thrown on railway tracks.
Several railway motormen were reportedly injured in the stone pelting and were rushed to a local hospital. Though the situation has been brought under control, latest reports claim that the services were restored only partially as of Friday afternoon.
An Economic Times report stated that the angry commuters also torched two private vehicles. Following the public outcry on the frequent train delays, drivers of the Central Railway's main and harbor lines have launched an agitation against the violence.
Over 5 million commuters use Mumbai's Central line and 4 million use Western line every day. According to Railway officials, on Friday morning due to technical issues, the suburban rail services faced a major disruption in the morning peak hour near Diva station. However, since this was the third such disruption in as many days, the daily passengers got angry and resorted to violence.
What caused the delay?
It all started around 6.45 am, when a Mumbai central-bound train broke down on tracks near Thakurli station. Even as the railway personnel were working on fixing the problem, another CST train coming from Kalyan also experienced a technical snag.
The two trains literally choked the entire slow line towards CST during the morning peak hours. Soon, even the fast train services got affected as many slow trains were being diverted on the same line.
The commuters at Diva station started assembling on the tracks in huge numbers and many started throwing stones at the trains. The protesters started walking on the tracks and reached Dombivali station, where the mob indulged in destroying property and arson.
And by afternoon, the entire CST line came to a standstill.
Twitter Reactions on Mumbai Rail Riot
In all these years of my train travel, I don't remember the day when WR had a complete shut down #mumbairailriot @TrafflineMUM
Rajendra B. Aklekar @rajtoday
"@sureshpprabhu: Very unfortunate fr commuters on CR. Directd GM 2 sort out grievancs ASAP. Diva-CST feasiblity studied now" #mumbairailriot
Sriram Sn @AC3Tier
Demanding services is different from damaging public property. #Mumbai God saved the new DEMU from this rail riot!
Kunal Purohit @kunalpurohit
Disastrous new year day for Mumbai rail commuters. After Central rail, even harbour rail stopped. All trains to CST cancelled. @HTMumbai