Trucks lined up at a National Highway in Jammu and Kashmir.  |  Photo Credit: IANS
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government’s recent move to close down the National Highway in the Valley for two days to facilitate troop movement has drawn a lot of flak from the people and political parties, with some even stating that the decision could lead to adverse situations for civilians in the state.
According to the notification, keeping in view of the movement of security forces on highways following the Pulwama attack in February, the state has granted 2 days in a week for troop movement during which no civilian movement would be allowed on the highways. Sundays and Wednesdays are the two days that have been set aside for troop movements.
The decision has faced a severe backlash from leaders in the Valley, with Jammu & Kashmir National Conference supremo and former state chief minister Omar Abdullah calling it “a glaring admission of failure to manage the internal security of J&K”.
In a barrage of posts on micro-blogging platform Twitter, Omar addressed the plight of civilians if this rule comes into effect.
“Another first for the Modi government… After the first ever delayed assembly election, now this shocker – never before in 30 years has the national highway ever been closed for civilian traffic like this. It’s a glaring admission of failure to manage the internal security of J&K,” he said in a tweet.
Calling the national highway a “lifeline”, he questioned the state administration whether they had thought this through. “Has anyone in the administration applied their minds before planning to issue this highway closure order? J&K is not Chhattisgarh or Andhra Pradesh where there are alternate routes. Here, if you close the national highway you shut down all access to the valley. This is a lifeline.”
“Patients will not be able to reach hospitals, students will be deprived access to schools, employees won’t be able to reach work and the list goes on and on. There has to be a better, less people-unfriendly way of protecting forces using the highway,” he said, adding that “forces can travel between Banihal and Baramulla by special trains” instead of shutting down the NH.
Peoples Democratic Party president and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti too evinced her concerns on the order.
“Last I checked, we were a democracy. But this sounds like a diktat of Martial Law. After bringing Kashmir to the brink, the administration is adamant on ensuring collective punishment for Kashmiris,” she said in a tweet.
Banned Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed carried out a brutal attack that killed 40 CRPF jawans on February 14 in Awantipora area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district. The attack took place around 3:30 pm after a suicide bomber, identified as local boy Adil Ahmad Dar, in a car loaded with 350 kilograms of explosives rammed into a convoy of 78 vehicles carrying over 2500 CRPF personnel on the Srinagar-Jammu Highway.
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