Communal tension followed by curfew in Poonch forced the authorities to suspend the Poonch-Rawalkote bus service for the first time since its operation about two-and-a-half years ago.
On Monday, special arrangements were made at the Chakan-da-Bagh crossing point in Poonch to hand over the body of a Pakistan-occupied resident, who died due to cardiac arrest on Sunday, to the POK authorities.
Curfew has been imposed in Poonch on Saturday after communal clashes between the two communities. More than 60 shops and houses of both the communities were set on fire and more than 40 people were injured.
“The Poonch-Rawalkot bus service could not be operated as per the schedule today, thanks to prevailing situation. The administration was not in a position to provide security to more than 1,000 people who were expected to reach Poonch to receive and see off their relatives,” said MA Bhat, Deputy Commissioner (DC) Poonch.
On Monday, more than 250 civilians were to cross the Line of Control (LoC) during fortnightly bus service.
“The bus service will resume its operation only after the fresh directions from the passport authorities and this period will be considered as ‘extension period’ for the POK residents,” said the Deputy Commissioner.
People have shown resentment over the administration’s failure to give information regarding the cancellation of the bus service. “Despite repeated queries on Sunday, authorities at Rajouri and Poonch did not inform us about the cancellation of the bus service till late last night. Today, we faced lot of problems due to the protests,” said Ghulam Rasool.