English News


India’s post office in J&K’s Keran sector rises in status

Located on the Line of Control on India Pakistan border, Keran is the country's first post office (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@AmirRashidWani)

The post office located in the Keran sector in Jammu and Kashmir is different from others in the country. Why? This is because it enjoys the singular distinction of being India’s first post office.

Located on the banks of the Kishenganga river near the Line of Control, it was ironically in the past known as the last post office, till recently it was made the first one.

This PO bears the Post Index Number 193224 and is being manned by postmaster Shakir Bhat, and three mail runners. With the recent change, the signboard there describes it as the “First Post Office of India”.

Situated on the edge of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir there is a stream which passes between what is called Kishenganga on the Indian side and Neelum river on the other. The PO is located on the Indian bank.

The relative peace on the LoC following the ceasefire between the Indian and Pakistan troops for the last two years has made the work of Shakir Bhat and the three mail runners much easier as they are able to distribute the mail with ease and without fearing of being caught in cross-fire or shelling across the border. The PO generally handles mail and speed posts for and from army personnel posted at the LoC.

With relative calm prevailing in this area, life of local civilians has also become easier like the post office staff.

Interestingly, the history of this post office goes back beyond 1947 as it existed before the Partition and continued to operate even when hostilities between India and Pakistan took place in 1965, 1971 and 1998 Kargil wars.

At present the post office has been functioning from Bhat’s house since 1993 when the structure where it was housed before got washed out in flash floods.

Speed posts take around three days to reach Keran post office from where Bhat and his runners ensure their delivery.

Apart from army personnel and locals, tourists also visit the post office ever since the border area opened up for visitors from last year.