Stalled ever since, trains began running only today, pulled by bullet-proof engines. Two-and-a-half months ago, they could have saved Bora’s life.
Tumultuous applause broke out across the Badarpur railway junction, 28km from this town, as the first two scheduled trains along the 104-year-old hill section in the Barail hills were flagged off from the junction in Karimganj district and Lumding station at 10am today.
The train journeys along this 185-km-long serpentine metre gauge track, famous for its scenic beauty, was stalled from May 15 after the attack on the railway staff by the Dima Halam Daogah (Jewel).
The railway staff struck work after the attack and left their postings at 27 railway stations and establishments along this vital section which is linked to the metre gauge lines of Manipur, Mizoram and Tripura.
A total of six trains were flagged off from Lumding, Lower Haflong, Badarpur and Silchar terminus stations between 9.20am and 3.30pm.
Some of the people gathered at the stations burst crackers to express their happiness about the resumption of the passenger trains.
The morning train, which slowly started its journey from Badarpur junction, had about 200 passengers in 10 coaches.
There was as many as 19 security personnel drawn from the army, Assam police and the Railway Protection Security Force to escort the train from Badarpur.
Nupur Malakar was the driver of the train which steamed off this morning from Badarpur station.
However, the operating staff, including the drivers and guards, refused to wear the bullet-proof jackets, weighing nearly 15.5kg, saying they were cumbersome.
At least eight bullet-proof trains are now stationed at Badarpur railway station.