Heavy security as train services resume in Assam hills

August 1st, 2008 - 6:27 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, Aug 1 (IANS) Bullet proof coaches and protective jackets for crewmembers are among the heavy security measures undertaken for train services which have resumed in the militancy-hit hill section of southern Assam that links Tripura and Mizoram. The services resumed Thursday on the Lumding-Badarpur-Silchar section after a gap of two and a half months.

“The trains will run with bullet proof locomotives and the drivers and other crew of the trains will wear bullet proof jackets while a huge contingent of paramilitary troopers, Assam police and Railway Protection Force (RPF) have been deployed,” Samir Goswami, chief public relations officer of Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), said Friday.

Train services in this section had been suspended May 15 after a spurt in militant activity, badly affecting rail communication in Tripura, Mizoram, parts of Manipur besides the three districts of southern Assam - Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi.

Separatists of the Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel faction) killed 12 people, including a train driver, forcing the railway authorities to suspend rail services at that time.

Due to the suspension of railway services, trade and business and transportation of essential commodities had been enormously affected in southern Assam, Tripura, Mizoram and parts of Manipur, an official said.

The Tripura government has asked the NFR to regularise railway services in the region to maintain uninterrupted supply of essential items in parts of Assam and three other northeastern states.

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