Amid massive public outcry, security agencies in Kashmir have decided not to stop ambulances and school buses during the convoy movement.
Inspector general of CRPF Ravideep Singh Sahi said that forces have framed a “people-friendly” convoy-movement plan. “There is no question of stopping ambulances or school buses because it is a humanitarian issue,” he said.
Srinagar-based Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said during the convoy movement priority will be given to school buses, ambulances and essential services’ vehicles. “It will be ensured that no inconvenience is caused to students and patients,” he said.
A day after the killing of over 40 paramilitary personnel in a car bomb attack on a CRPF convoy on Srinagar-Jammu national highway, union home minister Rajnath Singh had in Srinagar announced that civilian traffic movement will be stopped for smooth passage of security forces’ convoys. He had admitted that the move would cause inconvenience to the civilians but sought people’s cooperation in this regard.
However, as it caused inconvenience to patients and thousands of schoolchildren who were arriving late for classes, the cry grew louder across the Valley against the decision. Incidents depicting inconvenience caused to students and patients due to convoy restrictions were debated on social media.
On the highways, school buses and ambulances besides civilian vehicles were halted for the smooth passage of convoy movement. In congested Srinagar city, the issue resulted in a major controversy with the videos of scuffles between the drivers of school buses, ambulances and commuters entering into verbal dual with the forces personnel deployed for the convoy protection, going viral on various social media.
Sources told DH that security agencies are looking for new strategies to tackle the threat of vehicle-borne suicide bombers which has become a reality after February 14 attack. “Options of stopping traffic for short intervals during the movement of convoys is being discussed and more barricading would be done to ensure civilian vehicles don’t get close to the convoys,” they said.
“Apart from traffic control, there will be changes in the timings of convoy, their halt locations and movement in coordination with other security agencies,” sources added.