SRINAGAR   - The Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service resumed on Monday after remaining suspended for two weeks following a deadlock over the arrest of a driver from Azad Kashmir on alleged drug trafficking charges.

The bus from Indian side, carrying 28 passengers reached Kaman Post - the zero point on Line of Control in Uri sector of Baramulla district - shortly before noon, officials said.

They said that the passengers including 10 AJK residents, who returned home after visiting their relatives in the Valley, and 18 Indian citizens headed for their relatives homes in AJK.

Both travel and trade on the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road was suspended after Indian authorities claimed that they recovered 110 packets of brown sugar worth Rs 100 crore from a truck coming from across the LoC on January 17th.

The driver of the vehicle was arrested.

The AJK authorities in retaliation detained 27 Indian drivers and their trucks demanding release of the arrested driver. They also refused to take back 48 other AJK drivers till their demand was met.

The officials from two sides held several meetings to break the deadlock and during the latest round of talks on January 30th decided to resume the bus service. They also decided to continue the talks to work out a solution to the impasse in the trade.


AFP adds: Four men were burnt to death in eastern India as suspected punishment for stealing cattle from a rival criminal gang, a senior police officer said on Monday.

The four charred bodies were found in a village in West Bengal state close to the border with Bangladesh on Sunday evening, the police commissioner of nearby Siliguri city said.

Two of the bodies were found inside a burnt out van, also containing one of the suspected stolen cows, while the other two bodies were found nearby, police commissioner Jagmohan, who uses one name, told AFP.

“There were injury marks on the heads and other parts of the bodies. We suspect that the four men were beaten up before being set on fire,” Jagmohan said.

“Two of them were burnt beyond recognition while the other two bodies were partially charred,” he said.

“Preliminary investigation has revealed that the incident was a fallout between two groups of (rival) cattle smugglers.”

No arrests have been made over the incident at Balaram Jote village, about 620 kilometres (385 miles) from the West Bengal capital Kolkata.

“The bodies were sent to a state-run hospital for post mortem.” Cattle stealing for smuggling across the border into Bangladesh is a common problem in the area, according to authorities.