Punjab: Harrowing time for passengers
Bus and railway services remained suspended for the second day on Tuesday in Punjab due to widespread violence following Sunday’s shootout at a gurdwara in Vienna.
Thousands of people, including women and children, were seen waiting at bus stands and the railway station. The national highways wore a deserted look during curfew hours. The railway authorities cancelled 18 trains. No untoward incident was reported on Tuesday.
There was no respite for the passengers stranded at the Hoshiarpur railway station since Monday. They spent the night out in the open, as security forces took over the station’s only waiting room.
However, some residents of the locality had arranged food for them.
In Kapurthala, the city observed a complete closedown for the second consecutive day. All commercial establishments remained closed and buses remained off the roads.
In Gurdaspur also, shops and other business centres remained closed. Banks were open, but did not transact any business.
At Attari railway station, over 24 hours after entering India from Pakistan, nearly 200 passengers were confined to the bi-weekly Lahore-New Delhi Samjhauta Express, as the authorities refused to allow the train to leave because of the violence.
Finally at 6 pm, the train was allowed to leave for Delhi.
Earlier, 59 of the 255 passengers have left Attari to reach their destinations on their own. Passengers of Samjhauta can either disembark at Attari or in Delhi.
Besides serving the passengers free dinner and lunch, the railways have opened up six bogies of the train for them. Station manager S.S. Maidan said he had no idea when the passengers could proceed for New Delhi.