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BJP expresses concern over bus to Muzaffarabad

Onkar Singh in New Delhi | February 22, 2005 19:02 IST

A Bharatiya Janata Party delegation on Tuesday met Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh [Images] and expressed the party's concern over the government's decision to allow travel from Srinagar [Images] to Muzaffarbad by bus.

The delegation consisted of party president Lal Kishenchand Advani [Images], senior party leader and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former finance minister Jaswant Singh.

The bus service is scheduled to begin on April 7,2005.

"The meeting was held at the invitation of Dr Singh. Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Finance Minister P Chidambram and External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh were also present. We told the prime minister that the government should have stuck to the use of passport as a travel document and should not have agreed to just a permit for travelling on bus. While issuing the permit you would have to undergo the same security drill as in the case of passport," Jaswant Singh said.

He said the PM told the delegation that the security concerns had been addressed and there was no cause to worry.

When asked if he thought the government had made a blunder, he said, "I have said what I had to say. I have nothing more to add."

Singh claimed Pakistan would have come around and agreed on the use of passport as a travel document if the government had not hurried with the announcement.

He refused to elaborate on the point. He also refused comment when asked if he felt the arrangement amounted to softening of India's stand against terrorism from across the border.


More reports from Delhi

Indo-Pak Peace Talks: The Complete Coverage

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