Girls arrested while trying to cross LoC to meet Pakistani boyfriends

via IANS published on May 17, 2006

JAMMU — Two lovelorn Indian girls who tried to cross the line of control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir to meet their Pakistani boyfriends were arrested by the army and later let off.

Asha Patel of Mumbai and Asha Sharma of Haldwani in Nainital, Uttar Pradesh, were arrested at Chakan da Bagh — the last Indian point on the LoC in Poonch — on Rawlakote road when they tried to cross over to the Pakistani side where their boyfriends waited for them on Saturday.

Army officials said that Patel, 24, and Sharma, 22, got acquainted with Khalid Mumtaz and his brother, who live in Lahore, via the Internet. Patel claimed they had even ‘solemnised their marriage’ through the Internet. After the Internet chatting, she said, they spoke regularly on phone and had decided to marry.

The couples had first tried the legal route to happily-ever-after, but the denial of visas by the Pakistan embassy disappointed them. Next, they thought, they could try to travel across to the other side as a historic bus service had been started between the two countries.

After a stay at a local hotel — Anand Hotel — in Poonch, Patel and Sharma took an auto-rickshaw to the LoC. Last year, Patel and Khalid had decided to meet at the Wagah border in Amritsar, Punjab, Patel told her interrogators.

The girls had reached the Wagah border and the Border Security Force (BSF) and the Pakistan Rangers allowed them to meet each other after repeated requests, a statement the army and police are trying to verify. Last month the two decided on the Internet to meet again and Khalid suggested that Patel and Sharma cross over through Chakan Da Bagh.

Police official S.D. Singh Jamwal told reporters that after verifying their antecedents and cross-checking with their families, the police and the army had decided to let the girls off.

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