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Highway closure to impact 7000 villages, thousands of health, education, govt establishments

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Apr 6: For the first time in at least last seven decades, the accessibility to 7,000 villages on either side of the Jammu and Kashmir highway would be severely impacted by the two-day-a-week ban on civilian traffic the government has recently ordered.
On April 3, the state’s home department ordered that on Sundays and Wednesdays, only the movement of convoys would be allowed on Jammu-Srinagar national highway from Udhampur to Baramulla.
“No civilian traffic shall be allowed from 4 am to 5 pm on these days till May 31, 2019,” the order reads.
Although the authorities have claimed that it won’t be a blanket ban, the move is going to impact an entire population living and working in south, central and north Kashmir.
There are at least two universities, 700 educational institutes and 90 crossing points located on the highway.
Banning it twice a week, will, hence, has drawn severe criticism from all sections of society including employees, who use the road to reach offices in south and north Kashmir.
The employees, who travel on the highway, have been maintaining that its closure will affect their attendance.
“We leave office at 4 PM. We use this highway to reach our homes. If this order is not revoked, the attendance at government offices would come down on Wednesdays,” said an employee of the R&B department who shuttles every day between his home in Srinagar and office Anantnag.
The diktat is also going to impact thousands of students studying in at least 200 schools located alongside the highway.
As far as healthcare is concerned, banning the highway would also block the access to at least 24 district and sub district hospitals located close to it.
Besides, accessibility to some private hospitals, where thousands of patients visit for treatment, too would get affected.
New City Hospital Tengpora, Sub-District hospital Pattan, District Hospital Baramulla, Trauma Hospital Pattan, Noora hospital, Star hospital Sanat Nagar, Ahmad hospital Nowgam, Sub-District hospital, Pampore, MM hospital, Emergency Hospital Qazigund, besides five hospitals of district Ramban (Banihal, Ramsoo, Khadi Ram, Banihal and Batote) are all located alongside or close to the highway.
The crossing points where the movement of civilians would be snapped include Sangrama, Kreeri crossing, Tapper crossing, Patokha, Churoo, Hygam, Hyderbeigh, Singhpora, Palhallan, Pattan, Nehalpora, Batpora, Tangmarg, Zangamcrossing, Hanjiveera, Hartrath, Singpora, Dewar, Parihaspora, Narbal, Shalting, Sharief Abad, Parimpora chowk will also see no movement of civilians.


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Jaish almost wiped out, no one willing to head it: Army

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Army on Wednesday claimed the government forces have “severely targeted” the militants for the last few months and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) militant outfit was “almost wiped out with no one willing to take over it”.

Addressing a press conference here, GOC 15 Corps, KJS Dhillon, who was accompanied by Director General of Police (DGP) Dilbagh Singh, IGP Kashmir SP Pani, and IG CRPF Zulfikar Hassan, said that 69 militants have been killed and 12 of them arrested so far this year.

“Post Pulwama incident, 41 militants have been killed and out of them 25 belonged to Jaish-e-Mohammed, 13 of them were Pakistanis while 13 were A+ category,” Dhillon said.

 

The GOC 15 Corps claimed that they have targeted JeM leadership.

“The situation now is so that no one is coming forward to take over the leadership of JeM in the valley,” he said.

“Even after Pakistan’s best efforts, we will continue to suppress JeM. The operations against the militants will continue with full vigour and we will not let militancy rise up,” he said, while appealing the local militants to surrender.

“Recruitment of local militants has gone down. In addition, those who surrender, we will take care of their security,” he said.

Dhillon also advised civilians not to rush to the encounter sites.

Asked about the bi-weekly restrictions on civilian traffic on the Highway, he replied, “This is just a temporary measure. There are now relaxations on the civilian traffic.”

On the occasion, the DGP said 272 militants were killed in the state during 2018 and a “large number was apprehended.”

He too claimed that the local recruitment in militant outfits had declined.

“2018 was generally a successful year. There has been less ‘law and order’ problem. We brought many youth (who had joined militancy) back to their homes,” the DGP claimed.

“Elections have been conducted peacefully in the state because of a well-planned security grid. Voter turnover at 13 percent in Anantnag district is not less. People voted despite threats, no one can be forced to vote,” he said.

Asked there were reports that 11 youth had gone missing in south Kashmir during the last one month, the IGP Kashmir said, “Few had gone missing but returned. They had gone missing for other reasons, not to join militancy.”

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Held Pak militant paraded before media

‘Chota Dujana was active in Srinagar for over a year’

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, Apr 24: Police on Wednesday presented a Pakistani militant Mohammad Waqar, alias Chota Dujana before the media, who, they claimed, was arrested from Pattan area in Baramulla on Monday.

During a press conference here, the militant was briefly allowed to respond to media.

“My name is Mohammad Waqar, resident of Miana Mohalla Punjab in Pakistan. I underwent a four-month militant training there,” he said.

 

 “I was told that Kashmiris are harassed, women are assaulted and Muslims are not allowed to offer prayers in Masjids. But I did not find any such thing here,” he replied when asked why had he picked up arms.

The militant was soon moved away.

SSP Baramulla, Abdul Wahid, said Waqar was affiliated with Lashkar-e-Toiba and had arrived in Kashmir in July 2017.

“He was operating in Srinagar for over a year now,” the officer said.

He added that the militant was travelling in a vehicle along with a Kashmiri when they were intercepted by the police near Mirgund, Pattan.

“They were chased and arrested near Chainabal Pattan,” he said.

The SSP said that as per their preliminary investigations, the militant was given shelter in old city as well as uptown areas of Srinagar.

“His plan was to resurrect militancy in Baramulla,” Wahid said.

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Malik sent to judicial custody till May 24

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New Delhi, Apr 24: A Delhi court Wednesday sent the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik, arrested in connection with the alleged funding case, to judicial custody till May 24.

The Tihar jail authorities have also moved an application seeking direction to produce Malik through video conferencing due to security concerns.

The family of Yasin Malik, said on Saturday, that the JKLF chief had fallen ill and was shifted to a Delhi hospital after he went on a hunger strike to protest against his “illegal” detention.

 

Earlier this month, Malik was brought to Delhi from Jammu and was later arrested by NIA in connection with an alleged case related to the funding of militant and separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir. He was produced in a special court which remanded him in NIA’s custody till April 22.

Malik was shifted to Delhi’s Tihar Jail after NIA secured his production remand.  The JKLF chief was taken into preventive custody in February by the J&K police and lodged in Jammu’s Kot Balwal jail.

Malik organisation JKLF was banned last month by the Centre.

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