Valley faces highway ‘lockdown’
Srinagar: A complete ban on civilian traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway was put in place from early morning hours of April 7.
Notably,the state 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, a government circular issued had said.
The decision was made in view of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls after the deadly Pulwama attack where over 40 CRPF jawans were killed in the suicide attack.
A government official said the measure has been adopted to facilitate unhindered movement of the security forces’ convoys.
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.
The restriction on civilian traffic during convoy movement has drawn ire from several quarters.
Pertinently, vehicles running from Srinagar to various district headquarters have moved towards their destinations using the inner links of the highway in various areas.
However, at main crossing troops have been deployed in strength to disallow and civilian movement, reports said.
Early in the morning newspaper distribution was also hit owing to the lockdown announced by the government.
“We managed to send most of the newspapers to various district headquarters during the wee hours on Sunday. The vehicles which distribute newspapers to various locations had arrived quite early today and we could manage distribution of newspapers,” said a distributor who delivers newspapers published from Srinagar to various news agencies located in district headquarters.