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A road to life is opening in the Valley
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It's a 58-year-old dream. On April 7, when it comes to fruition, it will not only unite a region divided by politics, but it will unite hundreds of families torn between two nations.

When the inaugural Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus rolls out on April 7, many believe it will be the dawn of a new era in the Valley. Experts believe if there is a confidence building measure between India and Pakistan that can reach beyond rhetoric, this is it.

It's 70 km that separates Uri in Kashmir and Muzaffarabad in Pakistan occupied Kashmir -- a two-hour ride that has kept mothers from meeting daughters and brothers away from each other for over 50 years.

For years they have resorted to unconventional and at times illegal methods of communication, including shouting or using sign language across stretches where the Neelam River, which divides the two sides, is narrow. At times, letters wrapped around stones are hurled across.

Those who had the resources and patience went through the painfully slow process of acquiring a visa and entering Pakistan through the Wagah international border. While a visa took years to come, the journey took four days.

But all that will change. Life in the Valley will change. To know how, read on...

Text and photographs: Salil Kumar

Also see:
The road to peace

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