Railways suspend operations in Kashmir

Jammu, Aug 4 (IANS) The Indian Railways suspended its operations in the Kashmir Valley for an indefinite period after violent mobs burnt railway stations and targeted tracks in some towns, officials said Wednesday.

The decision was taken after mobs burnt stations in Sopore and Budgam, besides harassing non-local employees, an official in the Northern Railways said.

The railways runs a train service from south Kashmir’s Anantnag to Baramulla in the north.

More than 100 non-Kashmiri railway employees have moved out of the valley, fearing for their lives.

They have told their superiors that they cannot work in the valley because of the fast deteriorating situation there. The stone pelting mobs and their supporters raising anti-India slogans have taken control of all places, the official added.

Stone pelters have been torching public property, including railway and police stations, though it is not clear whether the property was targeted first or the protesters reacted to firing by the police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

‘The railways have taken a serious note of the widespread violence in the valley. The authorities felt that the employees had strong reasons to feel unsafe and it was decided that the operations be suspended indefinitely in Kashmir,’ another railway official told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

‘In the given situation, it’s impossible for us to run our operations in Kashmir,’ the official said.

The railways would reassess the situation after the normalcy returns, the official added.

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