The ban on civilian traffic movement on 300-km long Srinagar-Jammu national highway began on Sunday. There was no movement of civilian traffic seen on the highway. The prohibition on the movement of civilian traffic has been set from Baramulla through Srinagar, Qazigund, Jawahar-Tunnel, Banihal and Ramban till Udhampur, an official government statement had said. The ban will start from 4:00 in the morning 5:00 pm till May 31.
The move has drawn flak from various sections of the society. Describing the move as mindless, former chief minister tweeted: “Driving to Uri I’m getting to see first-hand the extent of disruption & inconvenience that is being caused to people because of the mindless highway closure order that is in place today.”
Peoples Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Gani Lone said that the banning of civilian movement on highway is turning into humanitarian disaster. “The highway ban is now turning into a humanitarian disaster. Flooded will calls from across the state. People in dire need to travel in order to tend to their day to day needs of survival stuck in a state of helplessness. @jandkgovernor urgently needs to scrap the inhuman order (sic),” Sajad Lone said on twitter.
On February 14, a CRPF convoy, on its way from Jammu and Srinagar, was attacked by a suicide car bomber on the National Highway in Pulwama district, killing 40 personnel. The Jaish-e-Mohammed had claimed the responsibility.
After the attack, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, during his visit to Kashmir, had announced that no civilian traffic movement would be allowed during the convoy days.
On March 30, there was a possible 'fidayeen' (suicide) attack on another security force convoy at Banihal when an attempt was made to trigger an explosive-laden vehicle.
"Keeping in view the large movement of security forces on the national highway during the Parliamentary elections and associated possibility of any 'fidayeen' (suicide) terror attack on security forces' convoys, the state government has notified specified days in a week for the movement of security forces from Srinagar to Jammu," the state government statement said.
“To mitigate the inconvenience to the civilians by this move, the government has notified two dedicated days in a week i.e, (Sunday & Wednesday) exclusively for movement of security forces Convoys and there would be a complete ban on civilian traffic on the National Highway during these two days from 4 AM to 5 PM.