Rail link to Rameswaram Island has been cut off after angry mob pulled off railway tracks for nearly 900 metres between Rameswaram and Pamban following a court in Sri Lanka awarding death sentence to five fishermen from Ramanathapuram on charge of smuggling narcotics.
Three express trains that were scheduled to leave Rameswaram after 5 p.m. on Thursday have been rescheduled for Friday, the Railway Divisional Manager, A.K. Rastogi, said.
Mr. Rastogi said that the elastic rail clips fastening the rails with sleepers have been removed and the rails thrown away at Thangachimadam. “It will take at least four hours for us to restore the tracks. However, the work could be started only after the police give us clearance (on law and order front),” he added.
Railway Protection Force personnel, who were on special duty at the local railway stations, in view of Muthuramalinga Thevar jayanthi, have been rushed to Rameswaram to provide additional security to the stations, the RPF Divisional Security Commissioner, P. Sankar Kutty, said.
As a result of damage to the tracks, all the three express trains stranded at Rameswaram have been rescheduled to leave on Friday, provided the restoration works are over.
Rameswaram-Chennai Express scheduled to leave at 5 p.m. on Thursday has been rescheduled to leave at 10 a.m. on Friday, the Sethu Express has been scheduled to leave at 8 p.m. has been rescheduled to leave at 11 a.m. and the Rameswaram-Kanyakumari Express scheduled to leave at 8.45 p.m. at 12 noon on Friday.
The Madurai-Rameswaram passenger train scheduled to leave at 8 p.m. has been cancelled.
With no bus services, the rail passengers have to wait at the station till the rail services are restored. “We have made arrangement for food and water at the station,” the DRM said.
The last train to leave Rameswaram was the passenger train to Madurai that left at 4. p.m. railway sources said.
Meanwhile, the passenger services between Madurai and Rameswaram have been partially cancelled between Manamadurai and Rameswaram, he added.
Meanwhile, a mob set on fire a bus. Reports reaching here indicated that the situation is tense.