Attack fails to deter train passengers

Attack fails to deter train passengers

3 April 2010
The Daily Excelsior


SRINAGAR: Undeterred by the militant attack on Kashmir’s railway network, passengers today thronged railway stations as usual and trains ran to their full capacity on the route connecting South to North of the Valley. 'The blast had no impact on the rush... The trains are running full,' an official of the Northern Railways said here. Thursday night saw the first ever attack on the Valley’s railway network, which began on October 11, 2008, with militants setting off an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) at Galbug, 44 kms from here in Pulwama district of South Kashmir, damaging a two-feet of rail track which briefly affected service. Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit has claimed responsibility for the blast. Adequate security measures have been put in place to thwart any future attack, the official said, adding there was no drop in the number of passengers in the wake of the blast. 'It is almost the same...,' he said. 'We are not scared and fail to understand the reason behind the attack. It is a cheap service and is very popular among the people, mostly students and office-goers,' Javaid Ahmad, a resident of Baramulla in North Kashmir, said. Ahmad, who works in a Government department, said he used to travel by a taxi before the launch of the train service. 'The taxis were charging Rs 60 per passenger and were never on time due to frequent traffic jams,' he said. 'After the start of the train service, travelling has become very easy as I have to spend just Rs 13. I reach Srinagar from Baramulla within an hour and there is also no headache of traffic jams,' he said, adding travelling by train was also safer. Highly placed police sources said initial probe indicated that there was a possibility of local taxi operators allegedly colluding with Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit as their business had been hit badly because of the train services. Terming the attack as a desperate attempt by militants to gain media attention, another passenger Farooq Ahmad Bhat, a resident of South Kashmir’s Anantnag district, said, 'It is not an attack on the rail track but on the development works.' He said he was thankful to Almighty for saving the lives of the people. 'Had the blast taken place during the day, there would have been a number of casualties.' Bhat said such incidents adversely affect tourism industry. They convey a message that the situation is not conducive for a visit to the Valley although the situation on the ground has changed and people are coming in large numbers. The railway service commenced Kashmir on October 11, 2008 from Anantnag in South to Budgam in Central Kashmir and was later extended from Budgam to Baramulla district on February 14, 2009. It started from Anantnag to Qazigund on October 28 last year. Five trains run twice a day from Qazigund to Baramulla, Qazigund to Budgam, Srinagar to Baramulla, Baramulla to Budgam and Srinagar to Qazigund. (PTI)


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