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Blast derails Shalimar Express near Jammu
October 27, 2003 08:43 IST
Last Updated: October 27, 2003 16:36 IST
There have been no injuries or deaths due to Sunday night's bomb blast in the Delhi-bound Shalimar Express, but about 7,000 passengers of five trains were stranded at Jammu after the authorities cancelled or rescheduled several trains.
The stranded passengers belong to the Jhelum Express, Himgiri Express, Jammu-Amritsar-Ferozpur, Hemkund Express, besides the Shalimar Express. Three trains that had already left Jammu station (before the explosion occurred) were brought back while all other incoming trains were stopped at Kathua and Pathankot.
Jammu Station Manager Mulkraj Sharma said the stranded passengers had been allowed to stay in the trains in which they would proceed to different destinations as soon as the track was repaired.
Repair work would be undertaken on Monday morning, though no time frame was available for restoration of services.
The blast had occurred in the toilet of the bogie behind the engine of the Shalimar Express at about 2200 IST at Jatowal, 40km from Jammu, near Samba railway station. It occurred almost an hour after the train left Jammu Tawi station and derailed six bogies of the train, DIG (Jammu/Kathua range) Farooq Ahmad said in Jammu.
Railway authorities stopped traffic on the route as the blast had also damaged the rail track.
After rescue operations, the Shalimar Express was taken back to Jammu sans the damaged bogies. The stunned passengers gave different versions of what happened with some saying they heard not one but two explosions.
Some passengers said they heard a blast as well as gunfire. However, police attributed the sounds of gunshots to a separate incident nearby where two groups clashed and exchanged gunfire. One person was injured in that incident.
The place where the explosion occurred is about 10km from the Line of Control with Pakistan and militants had in the past triggered a number of blasts in the area.
"We can not rule out the possibility of militants having planted the explosives," Ahmad said.
Quoting J&K police sources, a Northern Railway spokesman said in a statement in Delhi that "incriminating" evidence, including detonators, a grenade pin and empty AK-47 cartridges were found near the site.
Intelligence officials said militants might have triggered the blast to divert the attention of the police force and try to secure the release of one of their jailed associates.