Civilian traffic restricted for Amarnath yatra
The Jammu and Kashmir government on Monday banned civilian traffic movement for five hours daily on a 96-km stretch of lifeline Jammu-Srinagar national highway to allow unrestricted access to Amarnath pilgrims. The highway connects Kashmir with the outside world.
Traffic police inspector general Alok Kumar said that no vehicle movement will be allowed between Nashri and Qazigund between 10 am to 3 pm. “The up and down yatri [pilgrim] convoys will cross the Nashri-Qazigund stretch in the same time period,” he said in an order.
The 46-day pilgrimage to Amarnath cave shrine in south Kashmir Himalayas commenced on Monday under tight security amid an escalation in militant violence.
The train services along the stretch will also be restricted. Officials said passes would be issued for emergency use of the stretch during the duration of the pilgrimage.
A similar ban was imposed on civilian traffic in April along the highway between Baramulla and Udhampur for two days a week to ensure safe movement of security convoys during the parliamentary elections.
The ban was ordered following the February 14 car bomb along the highway in Pulwama in which 40 Central Reserve Police Force troopers were killed. It triggered protests. The ban was eased before it was completely lifted on May 21.
Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik had apologised for the inconvenience caused but had maintained that it was imposed in the national interest.