India on Friday clarified that the Samjhauta Express peace train was among 75 trains travelling through Punjab that were cancelled due to a local agitation, including rail blockade.
In response to a question regarding reports in Pakistani media that Samjhauta Express was “stopped” by India on October 8, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said that Indian Railway authorities had informed in advance their Pakistani counterparts that the train would not be able to run in such a situation.
He said that “a number of Indians scheduled to travel to India from Pakistan today (Friday) could not do so. The High Commission of India in Islamabad is in touch with Government of Pakistan to ascertain their numbers and ensure that all necessary assistance is extended to them”.
He said “the MEA has requested Indian Railways to work with authorities concerned in Punjab to resolve the situation at the earliest, and put extra bogies for catering to stranded passengers on both sides for the next run of the train normally scheduled for 11-12/10.”
The Samjhauta Express (link train) and several other trains across Punjab were stopped, cancelled or diverted on Thursday due to the ‘rail roko’ agitation by eight farmers’ organisations, including various factions of the Bharatiya Kisan Union (BKU), to protest against the “anti-farmer policies” of the Punjab government.