Despite militant attacks, 26 travel in peace Aman bus

Srinagar: Despite fresh militant attack on Border Security Force (BSF) and Army camps that left a soldier dead and three others injured late last night, six residents of Pakistan administered Kashmir (PaK) arrived here while seven Kashmiris crossed over to the other side of the Line of Control (LoC) to meet their relatives separated in 1947 due to partition.

As many as 13 returnees also crossed side in the Karvan-e-Aman bus operating between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad, capital of  PoK today, official sources told UNI.

They said the weekly bus left Srinagar 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 that left 18 soldiers dead and as many injured. Four Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) militants, believed to be foreigners, were also killed in the encounter. 

They said six PoK residents, including three women, arrived at Kaman post after crossing the Aman Setu, peace bridge on foot.

Meanwhile, 13 Kashmiris, who had gone to POK in previous busses, also returned here after completing their stay there.

Sources said seven residents of Kashmir crossed over to PoK to meet their relatives, separated in 1947. They included four women, sources added.

However, no PoK residents returned to their homes today.

Barring July 11 and 18, the bus service continued despite unrest in the Valley where 85 people were killed and over 9,500 others injured in security force and police action, since July 9, a day after Hizbul Mujahideen 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 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 stone pelting during the day.

Similarly, people coming from PoK had 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. 

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