Government lifts traffic ban on Uri-Srinagar road
The restrictions will be completely lifted from Thursday, a government spokesperson said in a statement. “There would be no prohibition on the civilian traffic in this stretch on Sunday or Wednesday.”Updated: May 02, 2019, 01:30 IST
Authorities on Wednesday announced an end to the restrictions on civilian traffic along the 100km stretch between Uri and Srinagar along the lifeline highway that connects Kashmir to the outside world.
The restrictions will be completely lifted from Thursday, a government spokesperson said in a statement. “There would be no prohibition on the civilian traffic in this stretch on Sunday or Wednesday.”
Civilian traffic along the 301-km Uri-Udhampur highway was banned from 4 am to 5 pm every Sunday and Wednesday until May 31 to allow exclusive movement of security forces in view of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections that began on April 11.
The ban followed the car bomb attack along the highway that left 40 paramilitary troopers dead in Pulwama district on February 14.
The restrictions triggered protests across Kashmir. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah called the move a “people unfriendly” way of protecting forces. “Patients will not be able to reach hospitals, students will be deprived of access to schools, employees won’t be able to reach work and the list goes on and on,” he tweeted a day after the curbs were announced on April 4.
The spokesperson called the restrictions necessary in view of a large movement of security forces on an unprecedented scale after the Pulwama attack. “These forces were required both for anti-militancy operations and for conducting general elections peacefully.”
Two of the three Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir – Baramulla and Srinagar – went to the polls in the first two phases of elections on April 11 and April 18.
Uri is located in Baramulla district.
Polling for South Kashmir’s militancy-hit Anantnag seat is being held in three phases because of the security situation. It will conclude there on May 6. Pulwama comes under the Anantnag Lok Sabha seat.
On April 20, restrictions were restricted to one day along the Baramulla-Srinagar stretch.
The spokesman said the restrictions have been further relaxed following the successful conduct of the elections and a reduction in the requirement of security forces.
The restrictions will continue along the 200-km Srinagar-Udhampur stretch of highway, a part of which abuts South