A number of Indian demonstrators have briefly stopped a bus travelling from New Delhi to Lahore to protest against the recent killing of five Indian soldiers in Kashmir region.
On Thursday, Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony directly blamed the Pakistani army for Tuesday’s deadly incident in Kashmir, which lies at the heart of 65 years of hostility between the two south Asian countries. “It is now clear that the specialist troops of the Pakistani army were involved in this attack. Naturally, this incident will have consequences on our behavior on the Line of Control and for our relationship with Pakistan,” Antony said. On Friday, about 300 activists of the Indian Youth Congress stopped the New Delhi-Lahore bus, also known as Dosti (friendship) bus service -- a part of people-to-people diplomacy between the two warring neighbors -- near the Indian city of Amritsar and shouted slogans against Islamabad. After an hour, police arrived, used force to disperse the protesters, and asked the bus driver to resume the journey towards Lahore.  The incident occurred some 25 kilometers away from the India-Pakistan border. Later in the day, Islamabad called upon the Indian government to ensure the protection of the bus passengers. Pakistan’s Foreign Office spokesman Aizaz Ahmad Chaudhry said in a statement, “It is essential for both sides to take steps to cool down passions and resume meaningful dialogue.” India and Pakistan claim Kashmir in full but each only has control over a section of the territory. Over the past two decades, the conflict in Kashmir has left over 47,000 people dead by the official count, although other sources say the death toll could be as high as 100,000.