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J&K HC notice to state on highway ban

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Geeta Mital and Tashi Rabastan issued the notice and directed the government to come with alternate ways and other suggestions Tuesday.

india Updated: Apr 08, 2019 23:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Jammu/Srinagar
highway ban,J&K HC,Kashmir
he ban on civilian traffic came into effect on Sunday amid protests. The government on Wednesday last said civilian traffic on the 249 km Udhampur-Baramulla highway would be banned from 4 am to 5 pm every Sunday and Wednesday for exclusive troop movement during general elections till May 31.

The Jammu and Kashmir high court on Monday issued a notice to the state government in response to a petition filed against the ban on civilian traffic along the lifeline highway that connects Kashmir with the outside world.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Geeta Mital and Tashi Rabastan issued the notice and directed the government to come with alternate ways and other suggestions Tuesday.

The ban on civilian traffic came into effect on Sunday amid protests. The government on Wednesday last said civilian traffic on the 249 km Udhampur-Baramulla highway would be banned from 4 am to 5 pm every Sunday and Wednesday for exclusive troop movement during general elections till May 31. The ban followed the February 14 attack along the highway that left 40 CRPF personnel dead.

Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement founder, Shah Faesal, who quit the Indian Administrative Service in January to join politics, has filed the petition calling the traffic ban a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed in Constitution. Faesal has sought the quashing of the government order banning the civilian traffic along the highway.

Separately, there were reports of vehicles being stopped along the highway to let convoys of security forces move on Monday despite two dedicated days for their movement.

“It took us 3.5 hours to cover 55 km to Srinagar from Sopore along the national highway. We were stopped at four places for an hour to let convoys and security forces move. This is becoming troublesome,’’ said Bashir Ahmad, a government employee. “I counted over 70 army vehicles were part of one convoy.’’

Jalaluddin Shah, a trader from Baramulla who was stuck in traffic jam for an hour because of the restrictions, questioned why are convoys moving if two days have been dedicated for them. “This is only to make our lives hell.’’

Former CM Omar Abdullah, who frequently takes the route for campaigning, tweeted pictures and wrote: “Here is another full strength convoy. I am simply trying to highlight the point that the architects of the highway closure have made no application of mind. Somehow this convoy on the highway is safe today but it would not have been yesterday and won’t be on Wednesday.’’

First Published: Apr 08, 2019 23:39 IST