Chaos on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway (NH) on Sunday, the first day of implementation of a state government order that said only security forces’ convoys would be allowed to move between Baramulla and Jammu on Sundays and Wednesdays till May 31.
“If the Government of India thinks that by doing such things they can suppress the people of the state, they are wrong. We are defying this order and also filing a petition in court tomorrow. Kashmir belongs to Kashmiris, and for them to have to seek permission to use their own roads, I will not let this happen,” Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said, as she stated that she would challenge the government’s order in court, in Panthachowk on the outskirts of Srinagar.
“Protested against Guv [Governor] admins [administration’s] callous & absurd ban today. How can you restrict civilian movement on our main highway? You want to smother Kashmiris, change the demographics of the state & imprison them in their own land? Over my dead body,” she posted on Twitter after the protest.
“Driving to Uri I’m getting to see first hand the extent of disruption & inconvenience that is being caused to people because of the mindless highway closure order that is in place today,” tweeted Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah.
The order has cited “Parliamentary Elections and associated possibility of any fidayeen terror attack on Security Forces’ Convoys,” as justification for restricting civilian traffic on the highway.
Duty magistrates have been deployed along the highway to issue special travel passes for emergency services, officials have said.
On April 3, the government banned civilian traffic movement from 4am to 5pm for two days — Sunday and Wednesday — every week until May 31 on the highway stretch from Udhampur in Jammu to Baramulla in north Kashmir to facilitate the movement of security forces’ convoys.