Trans-Kashmir Bus Service Resumes Amid Fresh Protests

21 August 2008
Agence France-Presse

Srinagar: A trans-Kashmir bus service resumed Thursday after it was suspended in the wake of massive demonstrations in the Indian part of the disputed region, officials said. Anti-India protests hit the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley last week, forcing authorities to halt the route. The demonstrations were triggered by police firing on Muslim protesters, which left at least 22 people dead. 'The bus service has started again,' police officer Pervez Ahmed said, adding that 60 people had departed for Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Most of those travellers were residents of Pakistani Kashmir, eager to go home after witnessing weeks of protests, Ahmed said. The service began in 2005, a year after India and Pakistan launched a peace process. The mainly Muslim region has been rocked by some of the biggest protests since a deadly separatist Islamic insurgency against New Delhi's rule erupted in 1989. The latest tensions centre around a small piece of land awarded to a Hindu pilgrimage trust, triggering Muslim protests that began in June when the order was made public. The order was then rescinded, prompting Hindu hardliners to block the region's main highway, which set off new waves of Muslim protests. On Thursday, hundreds of students in summer capital Srinagar took to the streets carrying black and green flags, symbolising mourning and Islam