Holiday time as J&K shuts

Holiday time as J&K shuts

Families escape tense Srinagar for a quick vacation

While the execution anniversaries of Muhammad Afzal Guru and Mohammad Maqbool Bhat have left Kashmir in siege amid three-day strike call and police restrictions, many found it an opportune time to leave chilly Valley for a “quick holiday” in the warmer plains.

Officials said a record number over 5,000 vehicles, mostly private cars, on Sunday drove from Srinagar to Jammu. It was almost double the rush on the highway prompting the authorities to keep the road link open till late.

Shabir Ahmed said he had forecast that the coming week would be tense in Srinagar and so he decided to take his family on a “weeklong vacation to New Delhi”. “We would have left a few days back but as the weather was wet and highway connectivity uncertain, our plan finally realised amid sunshine and siege Sunday,” Ahmed said.

Many like Shabir, who drove out of Kashmir said they didn’t want to waste time confined at home. “Our past experience suggests that this spell would be full of uncertainty and so we left for holidaying,” he said.

Officials said despite curfew-like situation in Kashmir on the anniversary of Afzal Guru's execution, police had already asked its personnel not to stop any private vehicles from travelling to Jammu. 

And the police nod to facilitate highway movement seems to have had a viral effect. Many of those who left early, phoned their near and dear ones back in the native land not miss the opportunity.

Muneeb Khan said it was at around noon that he suddenly decided to leave for Jammu. “In the morning I had no plans and was idle at home. But suddenly a friend of mine phoned me that he was midway to Jammu for vacation. I too asked my family to pack their luggage,” he said while leaving his city home.

But for some youth “vacations” had a different reason. “Arrest spree has been on and I wanted to avoid being undue victim of police harassment and spend night in police stations, so I and my friends decided to for an outing,” said, a youth, who had been previously arrested on the charges of stone-pelting.

Superintendent of Police Traffic Javed Koul confirmed that “unexpected number of vehicles, particularly private cars ferrying families drove to Jammu.” “And the most interesting part was that unlike other days the rush was not confined to morning hours alone but that battery of vehicles continued to cross the Jawahar Tunnel till late,” Koul said.

He said about 5,000 vehicles including 2,500 light vehicles had crossed the Jawahar Tunnel by 5:00 pm. “Vehicles are still driving down,” he said.

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