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Bus service across Line of Control suspended

india Updated: Aug 25, 2008 11:27 IST
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The bus service between Poonch town of Jammu and Kashmir and Rawalkote in Pakistan-administered Kashmir was suspended on Monday due to a curfew that was imposed in Poonch following clashes over the Amarnath land row.

"The bus service across the Line of Control (LoC) has been suspended as of today (Monday) but is likely to be operational on its next scheduled date after a fortnight," an official told IANS on condition of anonymity.

On Saturday, an indefinite curfew was imposed in Poonch, about 240 km north of Jammu, after communal clashes. Police officials said at least 70 shops were set on fire by protesters. The trouble erupted over two rival processions around the Amarnath land row.

However, curfew was lifted in the rest of the Jammu region on Monday since there had been no violence since Saturday although a few processions were taken out by protesters demanding allocation of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board.

The Poonch-Rawlakote bus service was started June 20, 2006 and has been operating regularly since then. In Jammu and Kashmir's Rajouri and Poonch districts alone, there are almost 50,000 families split by the LoC.

The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, named the "Karavan-e-Aman" or caravan of peace, was the first trans-LoC bus service. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh April 7, 2005.

This bus service was disrupted for almost six months due to the Oct 8, 2005 earthquake. It also did not operate on Aug 14, 2008 due to curfew and massive protests in the Kashmir valley over the Amarnath land row.

The state government had May 26 transferred a 40-hectare plot of land to the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board but withdrew this following protests in the Muslim-dominated Kashmir valley. The revocation July 1 ignited an agitation in the Hindu majority Jammu region.