KAMANPOST, June 6:At a time when tourists are flocking to Kashmir like never before, this last post near the Line of Control (LoC) in the Uri sector, once a battleground, is developing into a popular tourist destination.
Almost every day, a large number of locals as well as domestic tourists visit the Kaman Post in Baramulla district to get a first hand account of the historical place. They click pictures at Aman Sethu (Peace Bridge) which connects Srinagar with Muzaffarabad in Pakistan. Some of the visitors even wave at Pakistani soldiers whose bunkers are visible from the Bridge and they too reciprocate the gesture.
“Every day almost 20 to 30 persons, mostly youngsters, visit this last point on the LoC in Kashmir. We issue special passes to the visitors,” said the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 19 Infantry Division, Maj Gen Bipin Rawat.
“We also get requests from various schools in the Valley for allowing their students to make a trip to the Kaman Post. If the number of children is more, we divide them into two or three groups.”
The Baramulla-based 19 Infantry Division of the Army is the nodal agency that issues permits to visitors to visit the Kaman Post.
For those who visit the last point at the LoC, it becomes a memorable experience.
“I have been hearing a lot about the LoC and Kaman Post for the last few years and I was lucky to see the historical place this year,” said Tariq Ahmed, a school teacher from Baramulla.
“I could have never dreamt of seeing the LoC so closely as earlier this area was a battleground. It is because of peace between India and Pakistan that common people are allowed to go near the LoC.”
Not only locals but domestic tourists too are keen to see the Peace Bridge. “I along with my family had come to Kashmir a few days ago and I visited tourist places like Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Mughal Gardens but I must say that visiting Kaman was exciting,” said Arun Kumar, a resident of Chandigarh, who was seen clicking pictures with Army jawans and officers at the Kaman Post.
The experience of visiting the Kaman Post is however not like seeing any other scenic place in the Valley, as it presents a grim reminder of the violence on the border.
“I was hit by a Pakistani bullet on July 25, 2010,” reads two stickers pasted near three bullet holes on the glass panel in the Army base referred to as “view point”. Army officers at the view point brief visitors about the Peace Bridge and history of the Kaman Post.
“Even though there is peace here, but bullet holes are a reminder of the violent past,” said another visitor at the view point.