The first time Samjhauta Express operated between Delhi and Lahore was on July 22, 1976. Since then, due to many reasons including terrorism, the train service has been stopped six times, latest being soon after the Pulwama attack on February 28.Latest reports state that the train services have been resumed on March 3.
New Delhi: The Samjhauta Express that is also known as Friendship Express, operated between Attari in India and Lahore in Pakistan. The train started its first trip from Amritsar to Lahore on July 22, 1976 following the Shimla Agreement. Till the Pulwama attack, it was as a bi-weekly train that operated on Wednesday and Sunday.
There is a train from Delhi to Attari, but is wrongly called as the Samjhauta Express, but in fact, it is the Delhi-Attari Express.
For the first time after the train service started, due to disturbing developments in Punjab in the late eighties, Indian Railways terminated the service at Attari. But after an agreement between Indian Railways and Pakistan Railways (PR), the distance was revised to cover just under 3 km and train service resumed from April 14, 2000. The train service that was stopped following the Pulwama attack has now been resumed starting from March 3.
Here are six instances when Samjhauta Express service was terminated.
1. Terrorism in Punjab
When Punjab was disturbed by terrorism in the late 1980s, Indian Railways had stopped the service in Attari, where customs and immigration clearances take place.
2. Vajpayee tries reconciliation
On April 14, 2000, thanks to the effort of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government to normalise relations with Pakistan, the Indian Railways and Pakistan Railways entered into a fresh agreement, under which the distance to be traversed by the Samjhauta Express was reduced to just under 3 km.
3. Attack on Parliament
The train’s service had stopped on January 1, 2002, following the terrorist attack on Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. The service resumed on January 15, 2004.
4. Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
The service was suspended again after December 27, 2007, after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. This was a preventive measure to deny militants a “high-value target”.
5. Contraband in train
On October 8, 2012, police recovered about 100 kg of contraband heroin and more than 500 rounds of bullet ammunition at Wagah border on the train heading to Delhi.
On February 28, 2019, the service was suspended following the 2019 Pulwama attack on CRPF jawans by Pakistan-sponsored terrorist outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.
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Last Updated Mar 4, 2019, 5:30 PM IST