Night trains cancelled in northeast for security reasons

The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has cancelled all night trains connecting Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur through southern Assam for an indefinite period due to security reasons, an official said Saturday.

"The decision on cancellation of night trains for an indefinite period was taken following firing at the Agartala-bound Agartala Express at a small station near Lower Haflong (in southern Assam) early Friday by unidentified militants," a NFR spokesman told IANS.

The incident took place between Bagetar and Lower Haflong stations in mountainous Dima Hasao district.

He said: "After revewing the security, an appropriate decision would be taken in this regard."

According to railway police in Silchar, while there was no casuality in the firing, it partially damaged the engine of the passenger train.

After the incident, another engine was rushed to the spot, 375 km south of Assam's main city of Guwahati and it hauled the train to Tripura capital Agartala late Friday evening.

The incidents took place hours after the Assam and the central governments decided to sign a peace accord with two factions of the Dimasa tribal militant groups.

While one faction is led by Dilip Nunisa, the other is led by Jewel Garlosa. The agreements have been opposed by the Indigenous Peoples Forum - a grouping of all non-Dimasa communities in the district.

The Assam government decided to sign the accord to establish a new autonomous territorial council, which will replace the present status of the autonomous district in Dima Hasao.

The NFR connects Tripura capital Agartala and parts of Manipur, Mizoram and southern Assam with the rest of India by a single 108-year-old metre-gauge railway track.

The NFR's broadgauge line was extended upto Lumding in mountainous Dima Hasao district, and beyond Lumding, the train services have been operated through the old metre-gauge railway track.

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