Kashmir Valley trains to run from Monday
Trains may resume running in the Valley from next Monday after almost a 100-day gap since the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, officials said on Wednesday.
Train services were suspended on August 5 over fears of attacks by pro-independence protesters, and the decision to restore them may be seen as a sign of the return of relative calm to the Valley.
It had been a railway police officer who had signalled the start of the current crisis in Kashmir, issuing an advisory to his subordinates in the last week of July that predicted a long unrest and asked them to store rations. His order had triggered panic.
An official spokesperson said the Valley’s divisional commissioner, Baseer Ahmad Khan, had directed the railway authorities to resume services from November 11.
“The divisional commissioner directed the railway authorities to conduct a track inspection within three days, which will be followed by a trial run on November 10 and the resumption of services from November 11,” the spokesperson said.
He said Khan had issued the directive at a meeting with railway officials, district administrations and the police that was attended by Valley police chief S.P. Pani.
Valley trains run between Banihal in Jammu and Baramulla in north Kashmir but are yet to be connected with the country’s rail grid as the line between Banihal and Katra in Jammu is still under construction.
Officials said around 26 trains ran in north and south Kashmir and up to Banihal before August 5, and thousands used them daily.
The railway police order that had predicted the current crisis had cited purported intelligence from security agencies and the senior superintendent of police.
It had forecast a “deteriorating situation in Kashmir Valley and issue of law and order for a long period”, asking staff to buy dry rations that would last four months and store drinking water for seven days. It restricted leave because of the “emergency situation”.
Later, the SSP (railways), Kashmir, had denied providing such intelligence. The railway police officer who had issued the directive was shunted out.