Closure of J&K highway evokes resentment

The decision of J&K government to halt movement of civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu national highway for two days a week to facilitate movement of forces for the upcoming parliamentary elections, evoked strong resentment in Kashmir on Thursday. PTI file photo

The decision of J&K government to halt movement of civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu national highway for two days a week to facilitate movement of forces for the upcoming parliamentary elections, evoked strong resentment in Kashmir on Thursday.

“The highway was not closed even during the Kargil war when intelligence reports suggested suicide attackers were at large,” regional National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, said. 

“What is happening for God’s sake? Are you trying to make Kashmir a colony of the British?” an anguished Abdullah asked and termed the Governor Satya Pal Malik led administration's decision interference with a citizen's fundamental rights.

Regional PDP president and former CM Mehbooba Mufti while lashing out at the government’s decision alleged that the New Delhi only wants the land of Kashmir and not its people.

“GoI’s current approach towards Kashmir has been consistent only when it comes to repression. Suffocate Kashmiris, throw them in jails, deprive them of basic rights & make them suffer. They only want Kashmir. Don’t give two hoots about what happens to its people (sic),” she tweeted. 

Congress general secretary and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that the government should come up with a people-friendly strategy to ensure both safety of troops and hassle-free movement of civilians on the highway.

“Security of the forces is paramount but at the same time traffic between Kashmir and Jammu is equally important. I think the government should have found a solution like half day usage of the road for both instead of completely shutting it down for two days in a week,” he said.

Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq while asking the government to withdraw the order, tweeted: “Another anti-people dictatorial move of the government to close the national highway for two days which will cause great distress to people. The government should withdraw this diktat and stop punishing people of Kashmir.”

The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCC&I) said that the closing down of highway for two days every week would have disastrous consequences on the economy of Jammu and Kashmir. 

According to the order issued on Wednesday by state Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, no civilian traffic will be allowed to move from Baramulla in north Kashmir to Udhampur in Jammu region on Sundays and Wednesdays till May 31.

The restrictions on civilian traffic on the 271-km highway will remain in force from 4 am to 5 pm, said the order, which follows the suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama.

 

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Closure of J&K highway evokes resentment

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