ibnlive » India

Oct 29, 2008 at 07:33pm IST

Protect trains and North Indians, warns Lalu

New Delhi: Railway Minister Lalu Prasad has threatened to cancel trains in states where rail passengers and properties are attacked.

"Railways are becoming soft target in many states these days. If railway properties and passengers continued to be attacked we may think of cancelling train operations in those areas," said Prasad. He made the statement after a man from UP was beaten to death in a Mumbai train by workers of the Maharashtra Navnirman Seva (MNS).

Prasad said he did not mean any particular state but had spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh about the man’s death.

"The Prime Minister and Soniaji have assured me that they would immediately take up the matter with Maharashtra government."

Prasad demanded punishment for people who beat up the man and requested the Prime Minister to ensure "full security" to north Indians in Maharashtra during the Chhath festival.

"I have told the Prime Minister to take stringent action against those behind the incident. I also spoke to Deshmukh for action against the culprits." he said.

Prasad said the man’s killing was a "national issue" and the Prime Minister must call for an all-party meeting so that the stand of political parties over the matter becomes clear.

Dismissing the demand for his resignation made by SP general secretary Amar Singh over the issue, Prasad said: "This is rubbish. Resignation is not a solution. We have faith in Prime Minister. The PM has earlier also taken action and I am sure this time also he would do the needful."

Union Steel Minster Ram Paswan, who is Prasad’s political rival in Bihar, demanded that the Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra be dismissed and MNS leader Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray charged with murder and sedition for their anti-north Indian campaign.

''If a warning has not yet been issued to Maharashtra government under Article 355, there is no need for it any more and Vilasrao Deshmukh government must be dismissed forthwith,'' said Paswan, president of Lok Janashakti Party.

Reacting to these demands, Congress spokesperson, Shakeel Ahmed said the Centre has asked the Maharasthra government to submit a report on the man’s killing.