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THE TRIBUNE SPECIALS
50 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE

TERCENTENARY CELEBRATIONS
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J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

Poonch-Rawlakot road reopens on June 19
Jammu, May 5
The decision of India and Pakistan to reopen the Poonch-Rawlakot road 58 years after it was closed following the partition of the country, has brought cheer among members the families that were divided on both sides of the Line of Control.

Militant behind Doda massacre shot
Jammu, May 5
In the ongoing operation to track down killers of 19 Hindus in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, Army troops today shot dead a Lashker-e-Toiba militant and trapped three others in a fierce gunbattle while a jawan was killed and a Hizb militant arrested in other search operations in the district, official sources said.

Security tightened at Vaishno Devi
Jammu, May 5
Security has been tightened in and around the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi following a terrorist threat to blow it up. Security has also been beefed up at the base town of Katra.


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Poonch-Rawlakot road reopens on June 19
S.P. Sharma
Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 5
The decision of India and Pakistan to reopen the Poonch-Rawlakot road 58 years after it was closed following the partition of the country, has brought cheer among members the families that were divided on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC).

The road would be opened for a fortnightly bus service on June 19. This will be the second road link between this side of Jammu and Kashmir and the other side under the occupation of Pakistan. The road link between Srinagar and Muzaffarabad was opened a year ago.

Border districts of Poonch and Rajauri in Jammu have the largest number of families divided in both Kashmirs.

Ghulam Ahmed Durrani, who has come from Hajira in PoK to meet his cousin Maqbool Ahmed Dar in Poonch, was happen when he came to know about the decision of reopening the road. This would provide an opportunity to the people on both sides to meet their relatives after 58 years.

Enthusiasm among people on both sides of the LoC was witnessed on November 7 last when the border post was opened for exchange of relief material for the earthquake victims. A large number of people gathered on both sides of the LoC and the Pakistani police had to use tear gas shells and fire into the air to disperse the mob that tried to advance towards the Indian side in search of their relatives.

Almost all preparations have been completed for the inaugural run of the bus. The nearly 8.3 km road from Poonch to Chakan-da-Bagh, which is the last point on the Indian side, has been black-topped. About 2.6 km length of the road has been freshly aligned beyond the Khari-Karmara village.

The Army has carefully removed the land mines that were buried along the border. Street lights on the stretch of the road were being installed and a reception centre, where passengers from PoK will first get their papers checked, was being given finishing touches.

About 125 persons from PoK have so far, visited this side from the Chakan-da-Bagh outpost and 150 went to the other side from here.

Those desiring to travel across in the bus would be allowed to do so on the basis of permit that would be issued by the authorities on both sides after due verification of the applicant.

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Militant behind Doda massacre shot

Jammu, May 5
In the ongoing operation to track down killers of 19 Hindus in Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir, Army troops today shot dead a Lashker-e-Toiba militant and trapped three others in a fierce gunbattle while a jawan was killed and a Hizb militant arrested in other search operations in the district, official sources said.

On a tip-off about the whereabouts of Abu Tallah, a divisional commander of the LeT and prime accused in the Kulhand and Basantgarh massacres, troops cordoned off the Somoli forest belt in Bhaderwah tehsil of Doda district, they said.

During the operation, a gunbattle took place in which one militant, identified as Ashraf, alias Abu Haksa, was killed, they said, adding that three other militants, including two LeT commanders, were trapped in the cordon as the encounter was still on.

Additional para-troopers were inducted in the area to track down the militants believed to be involved in the Kulhand masasare.

An AK rifle, 12 grenades, five magazines, one pistol, 176 rounds, 3 RPGs and some explosive material were recovered from the spot.

A policeman was injured during the operation to track down militants responsible for the massacre at Basantgarh in Duhampur district yesterday, they said.

Army jawan Harneet Chand was killed in another cordon and search operation in the Moghal Maidan area of Doda district yesterday during firing by militants. The operation is still on, they added. PTI

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Security tightened at Vaishno Devi
Tribune News Service

Jammu, May 5
Security has been tightened in and around the cave shrine of Vaishno Devi following a terrorist threat to blow it up.

Security has also been beefed up at the base town of Katra.

It is learnt that the outfit had threatened to attack various shrines at Jammu, Jalandhar and Amritsar. A terrorist, who identified himself as Karim Ansari, is learnt to have written a letter threatening to blow up Jalandhar railway station.

The CRPF personnel at the base camp have been asked to remain vigilant.

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