Indian army, paramilitary forces to protect bus
2 April 2005
New Delhi: Indian Home Minister Shivraj Patil on Saturday directed the army and paramilitary units in Kashmir to ensure the safe journey of the Muzaffarabad-Srinagar bus on Thursday. Mr Patil discussed security along the 170km bus route from Srinagar to the Line of Control with officials, but there was no word to ease fears of the listed passengers, who feel they may face danger after finishing the journey. After the meeting, the ministry decided to hand over the security to army and paramilitary forces - such as the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). The paramilitary forces will be deployed between Srinagar and Baramulla, while army will keep a watch from Uri to the LoC. The bus will be escorted by two vehicles. The meeting followed threats by the Save Kashmir Movement, the Farzand-i-Millat, Al Nasreen and Al Arfeen groups warning passengers not to take the bus. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday promised efforts to persuade Islamabad to encourage people-to-people contact in the 'widest possible sense of the term'. 'Our approach is that there should be freer flow of people and ideas between India and Pakistan. So our effort will be to persuade Pakistan to encourage people-to-people contact in the widest possible sense of the term,' he told reporters on his arrival here from a visit to Mauritius.