Omar slams curbs on civilian traffic on highway

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has slammed the state government’s decision to curb civilian traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Sundays and Wednesdays to secure the movement of security forces’ convoys.

Reacting to the decision, the former leader said in a series of tweets on Wednesday: “Has anyone in the administration applied their minds before planning to issue this highway closure order?

“Jammu and Kashmir is not Chhattisgarh or Andhra Pradesh where there are alternate routes. Here if you close the national highway you shut down all access to the valley. This is a lifeline.”

He further added: “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.”

Echoing Abdullah’s remarks, former IAS officer-turned-politician, Shah Faesal tweeted: “Policies imported from Israel will turn Kashmir into Palestine.

“The decision to close national highway to civilian traffic on every Wednesday and Sunday is extremely shocking. @RajnathSingh_in how will the employees attend office? How will patients travel? School children?”

The state government on Wednesday announced that no civilian traffic will be allowed on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Sundays and Wednesdays from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. to ensure the safety of the security convoys.

The restrictions will remain in force till May 31.