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Rail service resumes in Kashmir Valley

By Manoj Kumar Ramesh

Srinagar, Dec. 24 (ANI): Train services resumed in the Kashmir Valley on Thursday after being suspended for about six months during unrest in the region.

The train services between Budgam and Qazigund district was restored in the first phase. Authorities said the route between Qazigund and Baramulla will be functional within next few days.

Kashmir has witnessed massive demonstrations against Indian rule this year for three months.

At least 100 stone-pelting protestors were killed in alleged firing by the security forces.

The first train from Budgam via Srinagar, the summer capital of India's northern Jammu and Kashmir state arrived at Qazigund station with a few passengers on board.

Locals were extremely happy with the recommencement of train service in the valley.

"This train has resumed after six months in the Kashmir valley. We are very happy because we were facing a lot of troubles for the past six months. We were facing a lot of trouble while traveling to Srinagar. Today we are very happy; the fares on this train are very reasonable. We used to pay Rs 100 to the shared taxi operator for a round trip to Srinagar. Now we just have to give Rs 20 for this train journey. Even the security arrangements here are extremely strict. We are thankful to the central and state government," said Ishfaq Ahmad, a local passenger.

Services were suspended on July 31 earlier this year after mobs torched railway stations and uprooted tracks at several places in the restive region.

Passengers said the train link saves them both money and time.

"We are so happy that after six months the train has resumed from Qazigund to Srinagar. I am residing in a remote area and come from a poor family, traveling on any other mode of transport consumes a lot of time and money," said Shabir Ahmad, another passenger.

Authorities have made elaborate arrangements to protect the tracks and other railway properties.

A total of 1,600 local policemen, 350 personnel from the Railway Protection Force and around 800 paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force troopers have been deployed to protect the link from militants and irate protestors. (ANI)

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