Urgent Headline News

Urgent Headline News

Special phone centers set up to link divided Kashmir+

NEW DELHI, Oct. 18 Kyodo – The Indian government said Tuesday four special telephone centers will resume operation from Wednesday for a fortnight in quake-hit Jammu and Kashmir state for people wanting to get in touch with their relatives in Pakistan’s Kashmir, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna said.

Following a special directive from Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the telecommunications department will set up the four centers with a direct dialing facility in the state’s winter capital of Jammu, summer capital Srinagar in addition to the worst quake-hit areas of Tangdhar and Uri near Pakistan’s border.

People of Jammu and Kashmir can make telephone calls free of cost to their relatives across Pakistan’s Kashmir from Wednesday for 15 days, the ministry spokesperson said in a statement.

Phone links between divided Kashmir were partially restored last Saturday after remaining severed for over 15 years. Many people on Saturday booked a telephone call instead of dialing directly to speak to their relatives across the border.

Telephone links were cut off between the divided Kashmir when a violent separatist campaign started in India’s Jammu and Kashmir.

Following the devastating earthquake that hit nuclear rivals India and Pakistan on Oct. 8, people living in the worst-hit divided Kashmir have been demanding restoration of the phone link.

Singh on his visit to quake-hit areas of Jammu and Kashmir last week agreed to restore telephone links between the two Kashmirs in view of the disaster.

Over 40,000 people died and thousands others were injured and left homeless in the earthquake that devastated large parts of South Asia.

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