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Highway ban disrupts life in J&K

NC, PDP hold protests after supply of essentials and services are hit in Valley

April 07, 2019 10:16 pm | Updated 10:16 pm IST - Srinagar

Valley voices :  Peoples Democratic Party supporters protesting against the ban in Srinagar.

Valley voices : Peoples Democratic Party supporters protesting against the ban in Srinagar.

The first day of closure of the 271-km Baramulla-Udhampur national highway for convoy movement disrupted distribution of essentials on Sunday and halted all passenger services. The National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) held street demonstrations to defy the ban.

The highway closure was enforced around 4 a.m. in accordance with the State Home Department’s directions, leaving many stretches deserted till 5 p.m. Additional troops and mobile bunkers were used to seal the connecting roads. Many stretches were dug up to disallow any civilian traffic. Concertina wires were used to plug the streets leading to the highway.

Essentials like milk and vegetables from south Kashmir to capital Srinagar, and the movement of newspaper hawkers from the capital to south and north Kashmir, was badly hit. “My vehicle was stopped at Pathachowk. I failed to distributed newspapers,” said Aslam Khan, a hawker.

The blockade also resulted in the closure of markets and shops on the flanks of the highway. Locals were seen walking deserted streets to reach hospitals and see relatives. “My daughter is admitted in a maternity hospital. I walked on many stretches to reach Srinagar,” said Nazima Jan, a resident of Pulwama’s Tral.

Meanwhile, the NC, the PDP and the People’s Conference made separate bids to defy the civilian traffic restrictions, which have been imposed in the wake of the Pulwama suicide attack that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) jawans dead on February 14. The closure will be enforced on Sundays and Wednesdays till May 31.

NC president Farooq Abdullah, also a Lok Sabha candidate from Srinagar constituency, held a protest at Athwajan on the highway.

“The diktat should be revoked to ensure people don’t suffer. We are not a colony, therefore we are defying the diktat. The train affords a better option for the transit of military. They can carry out the movement of military convoy during nights,” said Dr. Abdullah.

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