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Long queues for Muzaffarabad bus permit

March 21, 2005 19:40 IST

Braving incessant rains and a mild cane charge by the police, men and women on Monday waited for hours in long queues at the Regional Passport Office in Srinagar [Images] to get permit forms to travel by the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [Images] will launch the bus service, which will resume after a gap of nearly six decades, on April 7.

Police had to resort to lathi charge to control the crowd outside the passport office, officials said.

The office had distributed 150 forms on March four to shortlist 60 people for the first two trips across the border next month.

All over the state nearly 500 forms were distributed on Monday, Regional Passport Officer John Shilshi told PTI.

Forms duly filled would be taken back shortly and those approaching the passport offices in time would be given priority, Shilshi said.

He replied in the negative when asked if the Pakistani authorities had returned to India the list they were given of 60 people from J&K who had sought permits to travel in April.

The exercise to check credentials and other details of those intending to travel to Muzaffarabad was time-consuming, he noted.

"We have issued the forms well in advance to give enough time to the investigating authorities on both sides [India and Pakistan] to complete the formalities," he added.

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