Millennium Post

Keep details of troop movement under wraps: Railways to zones

New Delhi: Days after the Pulwama terror attack, the railways directed its zonal offices to keep confidential the details of movement of troops and military equipment through trains, to plug any leakage of information.

The railways issued the directives through a letter dated February 16, two days after 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack by a Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist, in one of the deadlier terror attacks on security forces in Jammu and Kashmir.

The directive said that information regarding the movement of trains for transporting troops and heavy equipment such as tanks and artillery guns be kept under wraps.

"No information regarding movement of military special trains shall be given to anybody. Calling in the name of or posing as a senior railway official, defence or intelligence official.

"All concerned divisions of zonal railways are hereby directed to sensitise all the station masters, controllers and station staff in this regards immediately. Any violation in these instructions will invite serious consequences," said the order from Milrail, which handles movement of military personnel and goods across the railway network.

The Milrail operates out of the Army Headquarters from the Sena Bhavan here.

The order gains significance in light of the Pulwama attack, after which the CRPF also altered its standard operating procedures (SOPs) to secure its convoys restricting civilian movement when vehicles of security forces move in Jammu and Kashmir.

Senior railway officials told PTI that precautions are already in place to maintain secrecy of military trains.

Information about these trains reach the railway divisions concerned from the Milrail in a code format, which are then deciphered by the cypher cell of the division.

The information is largely about coaches, the route to be taken and other details. The information regarding the train is then passed on to the official concerned.

"The information is completely on need-to-know basis. No one in the regular system of railways knows the destination of the train, even the station masters. The trains are numbered and across the route railway staffers treat it as a VIP train. However, there are guards, other staffers, people at stations who get to know the details. This instruction

was issued to ensure that leaks are plugged," a senior official said.

Another official recalled how a few months back, a railway division in north India had received a call traced to Pakistan seeking details of a

military special train which raised red flags within the ministry.

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