Army clears Jammu-Srinagar highway to ensure smooth supplies

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New Delhi, Aug 12 : To facilitate smooth supply of goods to and from Kashmir Valley, the Army has cleared the 300 km long national highway to help the movement of goods.

The 300 Km long highway is the only surface link between the Valley and the rest of the country. Violent protests over the land row on the Jammu-Srinagar highway had caused disruption in the supply of medicines, food items and other commodities to the valley.

Fruit imports from Kashmir through the road, which is the only motorable link to the valley, were also stopped.

Sources in the Defence Ministry said that since Army's deployment on August 4 on the national highways of Jammu-Pathankot and Jammu-Srinagar, smooth movement of trucks including petrol tankers carrying essential supplies to the Valley and other parts of the State have been ensured.

"The Army escorted 2263 loaded trucks, 487 empty trucks, 764 buses, 97 oil tankers, 58 LPG and 1212 light vehicles from Jammu to Srinagar," sources said.

They added that 1743 loaded trucks, 460 empty trucks, 961 buses, 164 oil tankers, 22 LPG and 2165 light vehicles were escorted by the Army from Srinagar to Jammu.

A total of 10,389 vehicles were escorted by the Army on the national highway to and from Srinagar over the past eight days.

"The sincere and constant work of the Army under a tense situation has ensured movement of regular supplies on NH-1A," sources further said.

Meanwhile, Violence escalated in the Valley on Tuesday as 10 people were killed in firing by security forces during protests. For the first time in 13 years, curfew has been clamped in the entire Valley.

In Kishtwar, the army was called out after two persons were killed and over 20 others injured in clashes, police firing and a grenade blast, officials said.

Security forces opened fire in several areas in the Valley killing three persons each in Paribal Tekri in Bandipora district and Lasjan in outskirts of Srinagar, and one protester each in Rainawari, Baghemahtab and Zoonmar, all in Srinagar area, and in Nagabal in Ganderbal region, official sources said.

All the ten people were killed during protests against Monday's police firing in which six people, including senior Hurriyat leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz, had lost their lives.

As the situation in the Valley deteriorated, the authorities extended curfew to all the districts of the Kashmir Valley for the first time in 13 years, police sources said.

Curfew had been imposed in Srinagar district and along a 40-kilometre stretch from Sheeri to Uri town in Baramulla district on Monday.

With violence spiralling out of control in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called for a second all-party meeting on Wednesday to try to find out a consensus formula that could be acceptable to all in the state.

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