Protests against Jammu and Kashmir highway ban

Srinagar: National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) activists on Sunday protested against the ban on civilian traffic on the Jammu-Srinagar highway on Sundays and Wednesday, with one leader saying it had become a “humanitarian disaster”.

The state government has banned civilian and public transport on the highway in Jammu and Kashmir on Sundays and Wednesdays to ensure safe passage to convoys of security forces.

Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Conference President Sajad Lone demanded a review of the other.

NC supporters led by retired judge Hasnain Masoodi took out a protest at Wanpoh on the highway in Anantnag district. Masoodi is contesting the Lok Sabha elections as the NC candidate from Anantnag constituency.

PDP activists carried out a protest at Athwajan on the outskirts of Srinagar city. The activists tried to march on the highway but security forces intervened.

Abdullah tweeted: “Driving to Uri I’m getting to see first hand the extent of disruption and inconvenience that is being caused to people because of the mindless highway closure order that is in place today.”

Lone tweeted: “The highway ban is now turning into a humanitarian disaster. Flooded with calls from across the state. People in dire need to travel … stuck in a state of helplessness. Governor urgently needs to scrap the inhuman order.”

The order, which came in force from Sunday, bans all civil and public transport on the national highway from Udhampur district in Jammu division to Baramulla district in the valley.

The decision was taken in the aftermath of the February 14 terror attack on the highway in Pulwama district in which 40 CRPF troopers were killed.

From 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays and Wednesdays, only security forces convoys would travel on the highways, the order said.