A convoy of relief material mobilised by the Jammat-ud-Dawa (JuD) in Pakistan for distribution in the Kashmir Valley was halted on Tuesday near the Line of Control (LoC), triggering protests, officials said.
The convoy of dozens of trucks and ambulances left Muzzafarabad in Pakistani Kashmir early on Tuesday for Srinagar and was stopped by police in Chakothi village near the LoC.
The vehicles are loaded with essential supplies such as rice, oil, fresh and dry vegetables, clarified butter, baby food and medicines. There were also ambulances with doctors and paramedics.
The relief materials and ambulances were put together by the Falah-e-Insaniyat Foundation (FIF), the charity wing of the proscribed JuD Islamist group.
The group is headed by Hafeez Sayeed, the alleged mastermind of the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attack, for whose capture the US has announced a bounty of $10 million.
Although the JuD is outlawed in Pakistan, it is known to operate more or less freely through its various fronts, and Sayeed frequently addresses public rallies.
People in the convoy staged a demonstration in Chakothi, insisting that they be allowed to proceed to the Kashmir Valley in India, the FIF said.
“The caravan will not leave this place till the material is sent to the Kashmiri people who are suffering from over three weeks due to the Indian atrocities,” it said.
Hafiz Abdul Rouf of FIF said markets in the Valley were shut due to curfew and restrictions, and that Kashmiris were suffering badly.
“If the two countries can use this route for trade, why can’t it be used for humanitarian relief?” he asked.
The widespread protests in the Kashmir Valley following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani has claimed over 50 lives and injured more than 3,000 people.