Srinagar, November 28
The Karvan-e-Aman bus, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), left here early this morning for Kaman Post, the last Indian military post on this side of the border in Uri sector. The bus run continued despite tense situation on the Line of Control (LoC) in the frontier district of Kupwara and Bandipora besides in Jammu region last week. However, the guns are silent for the past 48 hours in both the regions. The weekly peace bus with three passengers left Srinagar at 0700 hrs for security reasons to avoid any stone pelting and protests due to strike, called by separatists. The bus has since reached Kaman Post at around 0900 hrs. They said the exact number of passengers travelling in the bus will be known only in the afternoon as some more travellers will join at Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC) at Salamabad, Uri. Similarly, people coming from the PoK will have to wait at Uri before starting journey towards their respective destinations late in the night, to avoid stone pelting. Despite unrest since July 9 in the Kashmir valley, the bus run continued. However, on July 11 and 18, the bus could not operate for security reasons following strike by the separatists while on July 4 and September 12, it did not run in the wake of Eid festivals. The weekly bus service was not affected even after the Fidayeen attack on Army Brigade Headquarters at Uri on September 18, which left 19 soldiers dead and over 20 wounded. Four Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, believed to be foreigners, were also killed in the encounter. The Fidayeen attack was followed by surgical attack by Indian troops across the LoC. On October 17, the peace bus could not operate due to tense situation on the LoC while on October 24, it was suspended due to some political activity in the PoK. The bus service has helped thousands of families divided due to Partition in 1947 to meet each other after India and Pakistan agreed to allow travel of state subjects from both sides on travel permits, instead of international passport. People were allowed to travel only after their names are cleared from intelligence agencies from both the sides in the bus, a major Confidence Building Measure (CBM) introduced on April 7, 2005 by India and Pakistan, will not operate much to the disappointment of passengers, who were scheduled to travel to meet their relatives separated in 1947.