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Second point along LoC opened

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Kaman Post
Last updated on: November 09, 2005 22:57 IST
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A second trans-LoC release point became operational on Wednesday afternoon at the Kaman Post on the Line of Control in north Kashmir's Uri sector.

Some 35 Muzaffarabad bound locals, who had been cleared for the travel, could not undertake the journey as an entire 3-km long stretch on the Pakistani side of the LoC has been totally wiped out.

Shafeeq Ahmed Kiani, release in-charge on the Pakistani side, Jammu and Kashmir release commissioner Bashir Ahmed Runiyal and senior army officers were present near the Kaman bridge when the release point was opened.

The Aman Setu is extensively damaged on the Chakoti side of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, in the massive temblor that shook parts of Kashmir last month.

Relief goods including blankets, tents, rice, sugar and tea were handed over by the state authorities to their Pakistani counterparts while the Pakistani authorities also handed over relief materials, mostly food items and blankets to the officials of the Jammu and Kashmir government.

While the release material was being distributed, another aftershock of a high magnitude shook the area, triggering panic among journalists and the officials.

A senior Pakistani army officer, Lt Col Chirag, told that the Chakoti-Kaman bridge road will be thrown open in the next few days.

The 35 passengers, in the event of having crossed the LoC at Kaman Bridge, would have to trek the nearly three Kilometer route littered with boulders and landslides which perhaps proved too daunting a risk forcing the authorities not to permit their travel.

"We have made all the necessary preparations, including transport for Wednesday's passengers to Muzaffarabad. But, we were told at the last moment by the Pakistan authorities that the road on their side of the border was still in total disuse," said a senior police officer here. "They would be allowed to visit their relatives once the road is cleared.

Kiani, while talking to newsmen said that Wednesday's was just the symbolic beginning of the massive effort to help the quake victims on both sides of the LoC. "It is a symbolic beginning. The process shall continue and pick up in the days to come," he said.

Scores of local media persons covering Wednesday's event had a taste of what must have happened here on October 8 when an aftershock shook the ground.

Dazed by noticing that the earth under their feet was shaking, media persons started running helter-skelter and so did many state government officials as army officers from the two sides advised them that they must move to relatively safer areas. 

Baramulla district magistrate N K Verma said that so far, 3000 packets containing relief material have been stocked at the Kaman Post, while dozens of truck loads of relief material is on its way to the Kaman Post for onward distribution.

Verma said that such a gesture can give fresh impetus to the peace process already in motion between the two neighbouring nations. He said that quake victims from other side of Kashmir can take relief material available at Kaman bridge.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Kaman Post