PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah have slammed the Jammu and Kashmir government and Centre for putting a “complete ban” on civilian traffic for two days of every week on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
Two days of every week will be dedicated exclusively for movement of security forces’ convoys on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway, the state government announced on Wednesday, five days after a failed terror strike on a security force convoy planned on the lines of the ghastly Pulwama attack.
There will be a “complete ban” on civilian traffic on most part of the 300-km long National Highway on Sundays and Wednesdays from 4 AM to 5 PM. These restrictions would remain in force till May 31, 2019, a press release issued by the state government said.
Criticising the state government, Mufti on Wednesday tweeted, “Last I checked, we were a democracy. But this sounds like a diktat of Martial Law. After bringing Kashmir to the brink, the administration is adamant on ensuring collective punishment for Kashmiris.”
Abdullah called it a “failure” of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government.
“Another 1st for the Modi government after the 1st ever delayed assembly election now this shocker – never before in 30 years has the national highway ever been closed for civilian traffic like this. It’s a glaring admission of failure to manage the internal security of Jammu and Kashmir,” Abdullah tweeted.
“Patients will not be able to reach hospitals, students will be deprived access to schools, employees won’t be able to reach work and the list goes on and on. There has to be a better, less people unfriendly way of protecting forces using the highway,” he added.
In another post, he said, “I’ve made this suggestion before and in light of today’s highway closure order I feel the need to repeat it – Why can’t the forces travel between Banihal and Baramulla by special trains? Quicker, safer and more comfortable for the security forces.”
The state government said the decision has been taken in view of the possibility of terror attack on security forces’ convoys during their movement for the Lok Sabha elections. The prohibition on movement of civilian traffic on these two days of each week would be from Baramulla through Srinagar, Qazigund, Jawahar-Tunnel, Banihal and Ramban till Udhampur, the statement said.
On February 14, a CRPF convoy, on its way from Jammu and Srinagar, was attacked by a suicide car bomber on the National Highway in Pulwama district, killing 40 personnel.