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Wednesday, September 9, 1998

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Blasts on Jammu rail track hit trains
Tribune News Service and PTI

JAMMU, Sept 8 — Two bombs planted by suspected militants went off on a railway track near here today, forcing suspension of trains between Jammu and Pathankot, the police said.

There was no casualty or damage due to the two explosions which occurred at 5.30 a.m. and 6.25 a.m. at the Satwal railway track, about 25 km from here, the police said.

Earlier, around 1.30 a.m., a bomb disposal squad recovered five improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the railway track at Barian, about 16 km from here.

The train services from Jammu to Pathankot have been suspended to facilitate a thorough check by bomb disposal teams along the railway track from Jammu to Kathua, railway officials said.

Reports said that a group of Railway employees carrying out engine shunting observed a boulder close to the track at Barian.

Two jawans of the Crime Railway police who were aboard the engine came down immediately and informed the senior Railway police officers. A search was carried out by the Railway police and sniffer dogs and four IEDs were detected and defused.

The Railway police authorities said these IEDs had the potential of blowing up trains that were scheduled to pass on the track within the next half an hour.

While the IEDs were being defused, two blasts took place a few furlongs away from the railway track. It is believed that those who had planted the four IEDs on the track could not get time to plant the other two. They simply left the two IEDs a few hundred metres away which exploded when the Shalimar train was due to pass on the track.

Official sources said that the militants have made concerted bid during the past one year to blow up the trains and the track between Jammu and Samba and thrice they had succeeded. At least four times the explosives were recovered and defused before they could cause damage.

The sources said that Pak-trained militants have been directed to damage railway track, road links and national highways linking Jammu and Srinagar and Srinagar with Kargil. During the past three weeks, militants carried out IED and mine blasts on three occasions on the Drass-Kargil national highway in which four persons, including three Army personnel, were killed. The aim of the Pak agencies, according to the official sources, was to damage these road links and the railway track to snap supply lines to the Ladakh region and to Srinagar and Jammu.

In addition, attempts have been made to damage roads linking Rajouri with Poonch and Batote to Doda. Official sources said that by blowing up road and railway tracks, the militants plant to check the mobility of troops and security forces so that they could get ample opportunity to move from one area to another and establish their hideouts without any threat from the security forces.

Meanwhile, Indian and Pakistani troops exchanged fire at six places along the International Border while three persons, including two ultras were killed in separate incidents in Rajouri and Poonch of the Jammu region since last evening.

A Border Security Force (BSF) spokesman said Pakistani rangers targeted six Indian border outposts of Assempur, Bobiyan, Jabowal, Paharpur, Sangral and Suchetgarh in the R.S. Pura and samba sub-sectors using light arms late last night.

The BSF retaliated and the exchange of fire continued intermittently till this morning without any loss of life or damage on the Indian side, he said.

Official reports from Poonch said Army troops at the Line of Control there killed two militants who had infiltrated to Indian side in the Dhoba area last evening and recovered two AK-56 rifles, four grenades and some explosive material from them.

In another incident, an Army jawan was killed when his gun went off accidentally pumping bullets into his body in the Ramgarh area last night, officials said.

BSF troops arrested six Bangladeshi nationals near the border in Ramgarh last evening. They were trying to sneak into Pakistan.

Meanwhile, a top ranking militant Satpaul Singh alias Satta of the Khalistan Zindabad Force surrendered to the police here. He is believed to be close associate of KZF chief Mohinder Paul Singh alias Meeta, now operating from Pakistan, officials added.back

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