Srinagar, Apr 7: Two top mainstream political parties National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) hit streets on Kashmir highway in the outskirts of Srinagar to protest ban on the movement of civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu highway.
National Conference workers led by party president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah staged a demonstration in the outskirts of Srinagar on Kashmir highway.
Talking to reporters Abdullah warned the central government of more intensifying protests if the ban is not immediately revoked.
PDP workers led by senior leader and former Minister Mohammad Ashraf Mir staged a protest demonstration near Nowgam Chowk and alleged that Kashmir is being changed into a prison but PDP will thwart all attempts of encroachment on civil liberties in Jammu and Kashmir.
All went well on Sunday: Govt
Monitor News Bureau
Jammu, Apr 7: The J&K government Sunday said that the arrangements made by it for the convenience of the public on the National Highway 44 during the restricted travel period on NH, was “quite successful” on the first day of the traffic prohibition.
As per an official handout, the movement of civilian vehicles in Kashmir Division and Jammu Division remained normal in all interior roads except for the NH where only exempted categories of vehicles were seen plying.
“As per the reports gathered from the DCs of Pulwama, Anantnag, Budgam and Baramulla, special permission passes were given to 128, 210, 45 and 110 vehicles, totaling 493 vehicles, falling in the exempted categories. Passes were issued in Udhampur and Ramban also. These vehicles were given passes for traveling on the Highway,” read the handout.
It claimed that a large number of vehicles were allowed to cross the NH at various crossings in all districts.
“In Srinagar, over 2,000 civilian vehicles crossed Panthachowk towards various destinations along the National Highway. Further, normal civil traffic movement was observed in various areas including Tengpora, Shalteng, Parimpora, Nowgam, Batamaloo, Sanatnagar, Bemina Chowk, Hyderpora, Chanpora and Narbal Crossing where over 10,000 vehicles crossed the NH unhindered. In Anantnag, around 3000 vehicles crossed the NH at various crossings,” it said.
Many people used alternate roads, especially the old NH where available, and other internal routes to commute and also to reach Srinagar, thus completely avoiding the NH.
It is pertinent to mention that students appearing in various exams also reached in time as their roll number slips were treated as passes.
All emergency cases, medical or otherwise are being cleared without any delay. Doctors and businessmen who have to attend their establishments on the NH were allowed without any problem. From the overall proceedings of the day, it appears that the movement of vehicles was hassle free, although heavier on alternate routes. It may be mentioned that the local administration made extensive arrangements to facilitate the movement of public through the provision of Travel Passes through a Nodal Officer in each district for covering (i) various emergencies, including medical, (ii) school buses, (iii) students appearing in any examination, (iv) Government employees on duty (iv) hospital staff on duty, (v) passengers travelling by air, (vi) political persons needing to campaign, etc. on production of requisite identification documents.
Besides, over a 100 Executive Magistrates were on duty today along the NH from Baramulla to Udhampur from 5 a.m., to ensure smooth movement of Security Forces’ Convoy and also facilitate smooth civilian movement.
The Government stated that the regulation of civilian traffic during movement of Security Forces’ convoy had to be notified for two days a week, in the larger interest of security of everyone and appealed to people to extend full cooperation in the smooth regulation of traffic as was the case on Sunday.
“The restrictions are, in any case, applicable upto 31st May 2019 only. The total duration of prohibition is for 26 hours out of 168 hours in a week, which is 15% of the time. Further, the total number of restricted days is just 15 during this entire period. 8 of these are Sundays. Planned restrictions, with active facilitation of the public by the administration for exceptions and emergencies, is far more convenient to the public so that they can plan their movements in advance. As movements reduce, the restrictions will be relooked. The State Administration is committed to ensure the least inconvenience, particularly on the two notified days, i.e. Sundays and Wednesdays. This should set at rest any misgivings and also give the true situation on the ground on Day 1 of the restriction.”
Home Minister Amit Shah reviews situation in J&K
Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday reviewed the security situation in Jammu and Kashmir.
During the two-hour long meeting, also attended by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba among others, the home minister was given a detailed presentation on the prevailing security situation in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly along the International Border and the Line of Control.
The home minister took stock of the situation and was briefed about the steps taken to maintain peace along border areas as well as in the Valley, a security official said.
Lieutenant General K J S Dhillon, General Officer Commanding, 15 Corps, which looks after the Kashmir Valley, had recently said there have been infiltration attempts from across the border.
SC allows Azad to visit J&K
The Supreme Court of India on September 16 allowed senior Indian National Congress leader and former Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to visit his home state.
The apex court allowed Azad to visit Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Jammu.
However, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said Azad will not be allowed to “make any speeches or hold any public rally as per his own submissions”.
Azad had moved SC seeking permission to visit his home state to enquire about the well-being of his family.
Azad’s petition was taken up by a bench of CJI Gogoi, and Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer on September 16.
There are formidable reasons, says SC on J&K curbs
The Supreme Court asked the government to take all steps to restore normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir but stressed there were “formidable reasons” for the restrictions imposed by the government.
A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi which took up a bunch of petitions on the scrapped special status for the state and its impact, also accepted a request from Ghulam Nabi Azad to travel to four districts to reach out to people and ascertain their problems.
Chief Justice Gogoi also responded to a complaint that people weren’t able to approach the high court, offered to ascertain the situation and if need be, even travel to the state.
Justice SA Bobde, one of the three judges on the bench, responded to the Attorney General’s outline of the situation in Kashmir: “These are formidable reasons. A terrible state of affairs”.
“We trust you will endeavour to establish the situation in Kashmir,” the judge told the Centre, asking the government to file an affidavit within two weeks.
Venugopal rejected the contention by journalist Anuradha Bhasin about curbs on media in Kashmir, asserting that all newspapers were being published without any impediment.
At one point when the judges asked a petitioner why he didn’t approach the high court, the bench was told that the complete shutdown prevented people from reaching the court. Chief Justice Gogoi took serious note of the argument and said he would speak with the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Justice to ascertain the facts and if necessary, travel to the state.