J-K peace bus being used to get money for militants: Army

15 May 2008
The Indian Express

Srinagar: With Rs 1.5 lakh seized on Tuesday from a passenger who came from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus, the Army has expressed concern that the peace bus is being used by militant organisations to flow funds into the Valley. “We have been receiving continuous reports about the flow of funds to militant organisations in Kashmir from Pakistan,” defence spokesman Colonel Manjinder Singh said. “On Tuesday, troops of 19 Infantry Division seized Rs 1.5 lakh from Mufad Ali, a resident of Pahl village in PoK.” The money was reportedly seized when Ali was handing it over to a contact person, who the Army claims was deputed by a militant active in Sopore. It was the first case, incidentally, of a passenger of the peace bus being arrested for a money transaction. Since the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus route was declared open in 2005, around 2,000 passengers from the two sides of Kashmir have used it to travel across the border. Considering the demand of thousands of divided families, India and Pakistan have even been contemplating making the bus service weekly, instead of once a fortnight. Singh said the Army had received a tip-off and was tracking Ali since the time he got off the bus and arrived in village Sultan Dhaki Uri on May 8. “The troops laid a successful ambush and arrested the contact person, Hafiz-u-llah, a resident of Warpora (Sopore), soon after he turned up to collect the money from Ali,” the defence spokesperson said.