An Example In Security: Bus That Ferries Divided Kashmiris Across LoC
19 February 2007
The Indian Express
Jammu: Cops in Kashmir are confident. The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, Kashmir's own peace bus and a confidence building measure between the two countries launched on April 7, 2005, has gained momentum. After the initial slump caused by a suicide attack on the passengers during its very first high profile run almost two years ago, the bus service is now a vibrant mode of the communication for the Kashmiris on either side of the Line of Control. Till date, the J-K Government has cleared 5,000 applications for the permit, and in the past five runs, the bus has been almost full. The government, which has made the bus available to bonafide members of Kashmiri families who are divided by the Line of Control, does not allow tourists or people with other interests to take the bus journey. The bus, which runs twice a month, travels 118.5 kms on this side of the LoC. It is accompanied by two security vehicles with a dozen armed guards as its front and rear escort. 'We take adequate precautions to secure the bus as well as its route. We carry out comprehensive anti- sabotage checks before the bus journey. We provide armed escorts too,' said Inspector General of Police, Kashmir range, S M Sahai. Moreover, each passenger is subjected to go through five security clearances conducted by the police and various intelligence agencies before papers for permit are dispatched to Muzaffarabad for a similar security clearance from PoK Government.