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April 09, 2019 |

Highway ban

The state government on Wednesday (April 3) banned civilian movement on Srinagar-Jammu highways for two days – Sunday and Wednesday – in a week for safe passage of security convoys. The government spokesman without mincing words said that no civilian traffic would be allowed on the highway (on the mentioned days). A day after the entire valley, including mainstream politicians, traders, educationists, doctors and civil society members expressed outrage on the government order. Former chief minister Omar Abdullah while appealing Governor SP Malik to review the order, dubbed the ban as “Tughlaqi Farman”. State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir said the decision was taken in haste and would add more problems in the valley. National Conference President Farooq Abdullah while criticizing the ban said that even during ‘Kargil War’ the highway remained open. Traders’ bodies also echoed the call for revoking the ban, asserting that it would lead to the destruction of economy. That was all on Thursday. On Friday Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan clarified that medical emergencies, schools and tourists will be exempted from the ban. The pitch against highway ban reached its crescendo on Sunday with prominent political outfits taking to streets to protest against it. Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti during one such protest told people to defy the ban. “If Government of India thinks they can suppress the people of Kashmir by such things then we will continue to defy this ban. Tomorrow we will move an application in the court against this order,” she said. Notwithstanding the political fervor that has been upped by approaching elections with representatives joining the bandwagon to appease the people, the government must reconsider the decision of banning civilian movement on the highway. On Monday, an unusual facet came to fore as Press Trust of India reported that an army convoy operated despite two days fixed for the forces movement. What was surprising was the account of the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, claiming that the order will hamper the operations of army and that there were no consultations carried out with the officers before the order was issued. "During informal talks, it was made clear to the state officials that such an order was not possible to implement," the PTI report quoted an officer who is engaged in convoy movement. If all parties are against the highway ban order, what purpose does it serve? The concerns of the government are apprehensible but it must find an alternative.               

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April 09, 2019 |

Highway ban

              

The state government on Wednesday (April 3) banned civilian movement on Srinagar-Jammu highways for two days – Sunday and Wednesday – in a week for safe passage of security convoys. The government spokesman without mincing words said that no civilian traffic would be allowed on the highway (on the mentioned days). A day after the entire valley, including mainstream politicians, traders, educationists, doctors and civil society members expressed outrage on the government order. Former chief minister Omar Abdullah while appealing Governor SP Malik to review the order, dubbed the ban as “Tughlaqi Farman”. State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmed Mir said the decision was taken in haste and would add more problems in the valley. National Conference President Farooq Abdullah while criticizing the ban said that even during ‘Kargil War’ the highway remained open. Traders’ bodies also echoed the call for revoking the ban, asserting that it would lead to the destruction of economy. That was all on Thursday. On Friday Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan clarified that medical emergencies, schools and tourists will be exempted from the ban. The pitch against highway ban reached its crescendo on Sunday with prominent political outfits taking to streets to protest against it. Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti during one such protest told people to defy the ban. “If Government of India thinks they can suppress the people of Kashmir by such things then we will continue to defy this ban. Tomorrow we will move an application in the court against this order,” she said. Notwithstanding the political fervor that has been upped by approaching elections with representatives joining the bandwagon to appease the people, the government must reconsider the decision of banning civilian movement on the highway. On Monday, an unusual facet came to fore as Press Trust of India reported that an army convoy operated despite two days fixed for the forces movement. What was surprising was the account of the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity, claiming that the order will hamper the operations of army and that there were no consultations carried out with the officers before the order was issued. "During informal talks, it was made clear to the state officials that such an order was not possible to implement," the PTI report quoted an officer who is engaged in convoy movement. If all parties are against the highway ban order, what purpose does it serve? The concerns of the government are apprehensible but it must find an alternative.               

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