The Karvan-e-Aman or Peace Bus from Srinagar to Muzaffarabad was suspended for a day on Monday due to “security situation” in the Valley and “less number of travellers”, officials said.
The suspension comes days after 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a terror attack in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
The bus service operates once a week (every Monday).
“The number of travellers for today’s bus was less from our side, and also due to the security situation a decision was taken not to operate the bus service today,” Deputy Commissioner Baramulla Nasir Ahmad Naqash told The Indian Express.
A senior official in Baramulla said the bus service was cancelled as a “precautionary measure in view of ongoing tensions” after the Pulwama attack and they received directions from the “higher authorities” to cancel the bus service.
Regional Passport Officer Kashmir Brij Bushan Nagar told The Indian Express that there were no instructions from the Ministry of External Affairs to put the bus service on hold. “It was just that there were only three passengers travelling in the bus today. Every Friday, we exchange communication with officials in Pakistan. Last Friday, there was no such email from the Pakistan side. We had informed them that there were three passengers from this side,” said Brij.
He said that after talking with the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, it was decided that the three passengers would be sent next week.
Sources said that last week there were 11 passengers (incoming/outgoing) who used the bus service.
The Karvan-e-Aman bus service is a confidence-building measure that has helped connect people on both sides of the LoC. The service, started in April 2005, has so far been used by several thousand people.
There was no confirmation from officials whether trade between the two countries from Salamabad Uri in North Kashmir would operate on Tuesday. The trade between the two countries takes place from Tuesday to Friday in the week.
According to officials, trade had taken place last Friday, a day after the attack in Pulwama.