The complete ban on the movement of civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway started on Sunday morning.
It may be recalled that on Wednesday the Jammu and Kashmir administration and Centre had announced that Srinagar-Jammu National Highway will remain out of bounds for civilian traffic on Sundays and Wednesdays till May 31. The government had announced that no civilian traffic would be allowed on the route during the movement of the paramilitary forces.
The government took the decision in the aftermath of February 14 Pulwama terror attack which resulted in the martyrdom of 40 CRPF personnel. The deadly attack was carried out by a suicide bomber of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). Justifying the decision, a government official said that it will help in the unhindered movement of the convoys of security forces. The ban on civilian traffic on Sunday and Wednesday from 4 am to 5 pm till May 31. The government announced that the curb on traffic movement will remain in place from Baramulla to Udhampur through Srinagar, Qazigund, Jawahar-Tunnel, Banihal and Ramban.
Meanwhile, National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held separate protests on Sunday in Srinagar and Anantnag against the government's decision to ban the movement of civilian vehicles on highway from Baramulla to Udhampur.
NC leaders Justice Hasnain Masoodi, Peer Hussain and Abdul Majeed Larmi took out a protest rally with their supporters on highway near Wanpoh in Anantnag area of South Kashmir. The leaders of Peoples Democratic Party took out a similar protest rally on the highway near Athwagan area of Srinagar.
Earlier former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah had slammed the government's decision saying the decision has been taken by the Centre without thinking about the people of Kashmir.
"GoI`s current approach towards Kashmir has been consistent only when it comes to repression. Suffocate Kashmiris, throw them in jails, deprive them of basic rights and make them suffer. They only want Kashmir. Don`t give two hoots about what happens to its people (sic)," Mehbooba Mufti tweeted.
Omar also targeted the Centre in a series of tweets, saying, "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. 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."
Congress Rajya Sabha leader Ghulam Nabi Azad had suggested the government to come up with a more people-friendly strategy and not stop the movement of all civilian traffic for two days in a week, IANS reported.