Rail traffic restored, Punjab loses Rs 7,000 cr

Updated on May 27, 2009 01:13 AM IST

Barring some stray incidents, violence-hit Punjab limped back to normalcy on Tuesday as curfew was relaxed in four cities, including Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur.

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Agencies | By, Chandigarh/jammu

Barring some stray incidents, violence-hit Punjab limped back to normalcy on Tuesday as curfew was relaxed in four cities, including Jalandhar and Hoshiarpur.

The state had witnessed widespread violence by followers of the Dera Sachkhand sect protesting an attack on their religious leaders at a gurdwara in Vienna on Sunday.

Rail traffic was restored after 36 hours on Tuesday afternoon. About 20,000 passengers were stranded in neighbouring Jammu after trains were cancelled on Monday.

It could take two days for the trains to run on schedule, railway officials said.

Passengers stranded at the railway stations were provided shelter at gurdwaras and railway colonies.

Food was also being provided free of cost by the Northern Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation.

Punjab incurred property losses of up to Rs 7,000 crore due to violence by followers of the Dera Sachkhand sect, according to conservative estimates arrived at by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.

Death toll in the violence rose to three. A Shiromani Akali Dal councillor killed a man “in self-defence” at Jalandhar after he was attacked by a mob early on Tuesday.

Police fired in the air to disperse a mob which went on the rampage, damaging vehicles and clashing with cops at Jagadhari town of Yamunanagar in neighbouring Haryana.

Railway authorities said several trains originating from Amritsar, including Golden Temple Express, Dehradun Express, and Chhattisgarh Express left for their respective destinations.

Long-route buses are not plying in Punjab as a precautionary measure. The unrest also led to a lot of cancellations and rebooking of international airline tickets from Amrtisar’s Rajasansi International Airport.

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