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Terror on tracks: Ultras target Kashmir rail link
Blow up Baramulla-Qazigund line; HM hand suspected; no casualties; 2 trains cancelled
Tejinder Singh Sodhi
Tribune News Service

Kakpora (Pulwama) April 2
For the first time since the start of railway services in the Kashmir valley, militants blew up part of the Baramulla-Qazigund line near the Kakpora railway station in Pulwama district late last night, disrupting traffic for several hours.

The militants detonated a powerful Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on the line around 9.15 pm yesterday, damaging around two feet of track.

SSP, Pulwama, Kifayat Hyder said, “It was around 1 am when we got information that a part of the railway line had been blown up by militants. It was nearly 43.9 km from Srinagar. We found that about 1.8 feet of the track was damaged,” Hyder said.

Initial probe indicates that there was a possibility of local taxi operators allegedly colluding with Hizbul Mujahideen ultras, who have a presence in the area, and targeting the railway track as their business had been hit badly because of the train services, said sources.

A mixture of RDX had been used in the IED and it was connected to a wire traced to a nearby hillock from where the explosion was triggered, they added.

“We have recovered some wires from the spot,” said Hyder.CRPF IG, MC Asthana said the blast could have been triggered by a “regular, high-power explosive.”

The train services resumed this morning as the track was repaired immediately after the authorities discovered the damaged track. No trains ply during the night in the valley.

“Five pairs of train; one from Budgam to Baramulla, two from Budgam to Qazigund and two from Baramulla to Qazigund run daily. Due to the damage to the line, two trains had to be cancelled partially,” said Upinder Singh, Chief Area Manager of Northern Railways. This was for the first time that militants targeted the much-guarded railway line since its inauguration on October 11, 2008, by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Besides the police, the CRPF, the RPF and Special Forces guard it.

Sources said the attack could be a warning to the authorities as the chairman of the Railway Board was expected to visit the state next week to inspect the progress of work on connecting the valley with the rest of the country.

Earlier this year, the security forces had thwarted the design of militants to target the rail line after a powerful IED was detected in the area. It was believed to have been planted by the district commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Parvez Mushraff, who was killed in a gunbattle on March 20. (With PTI inputs)





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