17 October, Srinagar
Despite strained relations between India and Pakistan following Uri terror attack and surgical strikes by troops on terrorist launch pads in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir(PoK), the Karvan-e-Aman peace bus continues to ply.
Official sources told UNI that the weekly bus, operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of PoK, left here early this morning for Kaman post, the last Indian military post on this side of the LoC in Uri sector, where fidayeen attacked Army Brigade headquarters on September 18, which left 19 soldiers dead and over 20 others wounded. Four Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, believed to be foreigners, were also killed in the encounter.
However, Pakistan has denied any such strike and claimed that two of their soldiers were killed in cross border shelling.
Sources said eight passengers boarded the bus here before leaving for Uri. However, the exact number would be known later in the afternoon when more passengers will board it. The bus has reached Salamabad Trade Facilitation Centre (TFC), Uri at around 0800 hrs safely. Barring July 11 and 18, the bus service continued despite curfew, restrictions and strike for the past 93 days in the valley, where 86 people were killed and over 9,000 others injured in security force and police action, since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani and two other militants were killed in an encounter in Anantnag, evoking massive protest.
The bus service on these days was suspended, owing to strike by the separatists for security reasons, while on July 4 and September 12, in view of Eid festivals. During the unrest, the bus from Srinagar to Kaman post is leaving Srinagar early in the morning to avoid any violence on way in view of strike.
imilarly, people coming from PoK have to wait at Uri before starting journey towards their respective destinations late in the night to avoid stone pelting.
The bus service, introduced on April 7, 2005, 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. However, people are allowed to travel only after their names are cleared from intelligence agencies from both sides.