The State Government of Jammu Kashmir issued an order that no civilian traffic movement will be allowed on the 300-km long National Highway on Sunday and Wednesday from 4 am to 5 pm every week till May 31, 2019.
This ban has evoked sharp criticism from all quarters of the society in Kashmir, In a series of tweets former chief Minister of Jammu Kashmir, Omar Abdullah attacked the Modi Government for having failed to maintain the internal security of Jammu Kashmir. “Another 1st for the Modi government after the 1st 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,” Omar Abdullah Tweeted condemning the Kashmir highway ban.
In another tweet, Omar Abdullah, said, “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 & on. There has to be a better, less people unfriendly way of protecting forces using the highway.”
The National highway connecting Srinagar with Jammu also connects many major towns including Islamabad (Anantnag), Awantipora, Pampore, Bijbehara with Srinagar and is the lifeline of the valley as most of the patients are referred to Srinagar hospital in case of advanced medical conditions, including delivery and critical injuries.
Apart from this students of various schools, colleges and Universities have to reach Srinagar and Awantipora and various other places and the only road available is the National Highway. ” It is quite obvious that people will defy the dictate, nobody will follow, but it is shameful how regional groups have confined themselves to social media to condemn ban, they need to do more, after all they will come demanding votes for the same people the next few months,” Abdul Rashid Shah, a resident of Awantipora, who runs a shop on the National Highway told The Kashmiriyat.
Mehbooba Mufti, the former chief Minister of Jammu Kashmir termed the government order to ban civilian movement on Kashmir highway ‘a diktat of Martial law.’ “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 wrote on her twitter.
There have been accusations of excesses against the Government Forces deployed on the National Highway, two days post the Pulwama attack on 14 February in which 49 CRPF men were killed, the troopers made three men kneel down on their knees and hit their heads with gun butts.
On Tuesday, the forces thrashed a group of students which included a minor girl after they allegedly barged into a school bus and thrashed the students to pulp, also ambulances and school buses are stopped during convoy movement for hours after Indian Home Ministry passed an order to stop traffic during the convoy movement on the National Highway.
There have been allegations that many shoppers and drivers were thrashed on the 300 Kilometer long highway that connects Srinagar with Jammu.