October 2005 News

India Prepares Border Crossings

21 October 2005

Jammu: The Indian army has been asked to prepare some crossing points along the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir, officials say. The plan is intended to enable people from Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir to find and help quake-affected relatives on either side of the border. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said, on Tuesday, that he favoured the opening of the border. Earlier this week, India also restored phone links across the LoC. Officials say the army has been put on alert at five crossing points along the LoC. Two of these points are in Jammu region - one each in Poonch and Rajouri districts - and three in the Kashmir valley. Landmine clearance Each crossing would be at least three feet wide to enable people to walk across from both sides. Pakistan's President has said the amount of aid pledged after the quake is 'inadequate' According to sources it will take at least two or three days to clear landmines from the areas even after a formal order is issued by the Defence Ministry. Officials said only three points at Uri, Tangdar and Poonch would be opened initially and the other two will follow later. The Chief Minister of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, had urged the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to 'urgently identify these points so that divided families on either side meet and help each other in the hour of tragedy'. The separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference had made similar demands. Earlier this week, India opened free telephone call centres at four places allowing people in Indian-administered Kashmir to make direct calls to Muzaffarabad in Pakistan-administered Kashmir. More than 50,000 people have been killed after then massive quake that devastated the region on 8 October. Nearly three million people in Pakistan lack shelter.


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