India stops Samjhauta Express at Wagah over security concerns


LAHORE: Indian authorities on Thursday requested Pakistan Railways officials not to send the Samjhauta Express train over security concerns in light of an ongoing protest by farmers in Indian Punjab.


Indian railway officials told their Pakistani counterparts over a special hotline that farmers are protesting in the country and that there were fears of an attack on the train service.

According to Indian media, several trains were either cancelled or diverted after protesting farmers blocked railway tracks at different places in Indian Punjab on Wednesday, the first day of their demonstrations to seek higher compensation for crops from the state government.

Sources in Pakistan Railways said that demonstrators are said to be close to the railway track on which the Samjhauta Express will travel, raising fears of an attack on the train.

The stationmaster at Wagah confirmed that the train, 215 passengers on board, has been stopped at the station in light of the security concerns. He said that Indian officials had not yet given clearance to allow the train to travel to India.

The train will depart as soon as security clearance is received from India, he added.

Between 200 and 300 passengers travel to and from India on board the Samjhauta Express on a daily basis, but the number of passengers rises when Indian Sikh pilgrims use the train service to visit their holy sites in Pakistan.