Civilian traffic ban on J&K highway begins: Hundreds stranded, traders say huge loss for business
Jammu, Apr 07: The complete ban on civilian traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway began in the early morning hours of April 7.
Heavy security has been deployed along the 270-km-long highway from Baramulla to Udhampur to enforce the ban on civilian traffic, so that the road is kept open exclusively for convoys of the security forces every Sunday and Wednesday.
The Jammu and Kashmir administration and Centre had announced that the national highway from Baramulla to Udhampur will be put out of bounds for civilian traffic on Sundays and Wednesdays till May 31.
No civilian traffic would be allowed during the movement of the paramilitary forces.
The decision was made in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls after the deadly Pulwama terror attack where over 40 CRPF jawans were killed in the suicide attack by Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM).
The ban on the civilian traffic will be in force for the two days -- Sunday and Wednesday -- from 4 am to 5 pm till May 31. It will be effective from Baramulla to Udhampur through Srinagar, Qazigund, Jawahar-Tunnel, Banihal and Ramban.
A government notification said in case of any emergency to use the passage by a civilian vehicle, the police and administrative officials will take decisions in line with the provisions of movement of civilian traffic during curfews.
The restriction on civilian traffic on the highway was announced two days after state police chief Dilbag Singh said a study group has been set up to suggest steps to strengthen the security along the 270-km Jammu-Srinagar highway following the Pulwama terror attack.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti called the move "madness" and hoped that the order is revoked immediately
Mehbooba Mufti went on to compare the civilian traffic ban move by the Centre to "Martial Law".
"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," Mehbooba Mufti said.