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Only 18 likely on second Kashmir bus

By Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar
Last updated on: April 20, 2005 23:37 IST
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The authorities in Srinagar are tight-lipped about the schedule of the second Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus that will roll on Thursday.

This time there is no information about the ticketing counter for the bus nor are there definite indications about the actual departure venue.

The first bus service was inaugurated by Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on April 7.

Media reports say the second bus would leave from the Salamabad Tourist reception centre in the Baramulla district and cover three kilometres up to the Kaman bridge where the passengers would disembark and cross over to the other side of the Line of Control.

However, highly placed sources claim that the bus would begin its journey from Srinagar.

Recently, four militant group combo renewed their threat against the bus service.

It is believed that some of the prospective passengers have withdrawn following the threat.

"In light of the threats, we have decided not to board the bus. It is a personal decision and it has nothing to do with politics," said Farida Afzal, 56, living in Srinagar.

She denied media reports that claimed she had fled from her house. "I am still here and the decision not to board the bus is also my own," she said.

"We intend to go to Muzaffarabad in connection with the death of a close relation there. Otherwise we had no intention of boarding the second bus," said another passenger, who did not want to be identified.

Of the 32 passengers, only 18 have so far expressed their willingness to board the bus.

"Even when all the arrangements are in place from our side only 18 passengers have expressed their readiness to undertake the journey. We hope more would join when the bus leaves," said a senior police officer.

The designate authority for the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus in Srinagar cleared the list of 47 prospective passengers received from Muzaffarabad.

"Only 32 out of the 119 prospective passengers furnished by us have been cleared by the deputy commissioner in Muzaffarabad," John Shilsha regional passport officer said.

Also read:
'Next bus passengers' list with militants'
Pakistan favours more bus routes
The long road to Muzaffarabad

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Mukhtar Ahmad In Srinagar