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Railway station employees flee

india Updated: Aug 03, 2010 23:13 IST
Tarun Upadhyay
Tarun Upadhyay
Hindustan Times
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An exodus on a small scale was seen when non-local railway employees in Kashmir left the valley on Tuesday after an attack on August 2, though the authorities made light of the incident.

A mob had bombarded Budgam railway station with stones. The families of the employees vowed never to return to the valley.

"The employees were facing problems of essential commodities. They had requested us to grant them leave till the situation improved. On Tuesday, the authorities decided to allow them to leave the valley," Chief Area Manager (Srinagar) (Northern Railways) Opinder Singh told HT on phone from Budgam, 15 km west of Srinagar.

The employees would be called back when the situation improved, he added.

Singh said a mob tried to attack the staff quarters but security forces fended it off.

However, he admitted: "There is definitely fear among employees."

There have been no railway operations in the Valley in the past five days. The employees, along with their families, left the valley at about 2.30 am on Tuesday by bus. The local employees have stayed put.

"Our quarters were attacked by stone-throwers. There was no food and we couldn't even draw salaries because the banks were closed. We could no longer stay in such a situation and decided to leave the valley," said Railway Technician Mritunjay Kumar from Nalanda, Bihar.

"For three days we were virtually locked up in our quarters with little food and very little water," said the wife of a railway employee from Patna.

The Railways have 500 employees, including 400 locals, in the valley. It offers service on the Qazigund-Baramulla track, on which 15 stations are located.