Three of Mumbai's local train stations – Palghar, Kelwe Road and Saphale – have witnessed a "rail roko" protest, mainly by essential service employees, following an announcement that the schedule of an early morning train from another station, Dhanua, would be changing this week.
Occupying the rail route, the outraged commuters said that they will not be able to reach their jobs on time if the schedule of the train coming from Dhanua station changes.
Inclining towards public sentiment, officials from the Western Railway decided to restore the special suburban services to their original time.
Pictures of several protesters taking over train tracks in the midst of the pandemic have since surfaced on social media – giving a glimpse into the chaos that unfolded in Mumbai today.
Protest! Changes of train timings leads to early morning rail roko at Palghar station near Mumbai on @WesternRly Cancellation of 4:40am train hits those on morning, want restoration of train! @mid_day pic.twitter.com/u3CsRHnG8x— Rajendra B. Aklekar (@rajtoday) December 2, 2020
Rail roko at Palghar, Saphale, Kelwe Road railway stations today morning. Protest against change in timings of special local trains from Dahanu from Wednesday. pic.twitter.com/ahteKg8SGI— Sandhya Nair (@sandhyanairTOI) December 2, 2020
In July, similar protests were observed at local train stations in Mumbai, when essential service employees demanded the city administration and Maharashtra state government to re-start the services amid the lockdown. Such protests gather a large number of people, which significantly increases the risk of spreading the coronavirus.