Indian Railways will deploy its first commando unit - Commandos for Railway Safety (CORAS), to ensure timely completion of rail projects in Kashmir that will connect the valley with rest of India, the chief of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) said Wednesday.
On the eve of Independence Day, Indian Railways launched its elite commando unit to tackle threats to the country’s rail network from left wing extremists, terrorists and subversive elements.
“As far as the scenario in Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, the challenge for the security agency is likely to be formidable post revocation of Articles 370 and 35 A and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. The security scenario has worsened in last two years after the neutralization of Burhan Wani a known terrorist of the area. It is a well known fact that 35 to 40% of terrorist are operating from across the border, but a growing range of local amongst the rank of militant is a matter of concern,” Arun Kumar, Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF) said at the launch of the commando unit.
Railway is currently implementing a project of national importance to connect Katra to Banihal, which is targeted for completion by 2023. The proposed railway line is around 105 kilometres long and 95% of which will be tunnels and bridges. One of the bridges is over the Chenab River.
“With commissioning of this project the majority of transport will shift from the road to rail and integrate newly created UT with the rest of India seamlessly. All our concerns and challenges have now been addressed by commissioning of CORAS,” Kumar said.
The 1200-member unit will be issued special distinct uniform, latest weapons and equipments. To motivate, the commandos will be given special incentives and allowances at par with other central armed police forces.
“Any disruption in rail network has the potential to compromise national security. While insurgency problem in northeast poses great challenge, the crown of the country, Jammu and Kashmir is facing unprecedented challenge of assimilation, post abrogation of the provision of Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution. The left wing extremism from Maharashtra, to Telangana to Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Bihar have made the task of providing security to railway asset even more challenging,” Kumar added.
The commandos are specialized responder for any situation pertaining to damage, disturbance, disruption of train operations, attack/hostage/hijack, and disaster situations in railway areas.
“This will be a historic Independence Day since the dream of many years to remove Article 370 and 35 A, which stopped Kashmir from integrating in rest of India, has been fulfilled,” Railway minister Piyush Goyal said at the launch of the commando unit.