The political parties in Kashmir Valley have strongly resented ban on civilian traffic on the national highway NH 44, from Baramulla to Udhampur, come into force. The National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) today held protests. NC president Farooq Abdullah, along with party members, held a protest at Athwajan on the highway. He threatened more protests if the highway ban was not revoked.
“Now it is difficult to even take the sick for treatment. The Police and Army is everywhere. Is this a colony or are we living in a free country. They have kept us like they do in a prison. It is necessary that, before there is bloodshed, they revoke this order,” Abdullah said.
The ban on the movement of civilian vehicles on Sundays and Wednesdays on the highway has been put in place after the February 14 Pulwama bombing in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed. Concertina wires and barricades have been put on roads connecting the highway in order to prevent the movement of civilian vehicles.The Army, police and CRPF personnel have been deployed in strength to ensure that the ban in implemented in letter and spirit.
A state government notification on Wednesday said that civilian traffic would not be allowed on the Baramulla-Srinagar-Udhampur highway on Sundays and Wednesdays to ensure safe movement of security convoys during the parliamentary elections.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said they would approach the court against the order. She urged people to defy the ban. “This is absolutely wrong. This is no occupational force. If GoI thinks that they will suppress people here by doing these activities, this is wrong. We are defying this ban. And we will also approach court. This won’t work”. “This is Kashmir, not Palestine. We won’t allow you to turn our beloved land into an open air prison,” she also tweeted.
Former BJP ally Sajjad Lone called it a humanitarian disaster and asked the governor to scrap the order.”The highway ban is now turning into a humanitarian disaster. We’ve been flooded with calls from across the state. People in dire need to travel in order to tend to their day-to-day needs of survival stuck in a state of helplessness,” he tweeted.