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Lives of Locals Affected on First Day of Highway Ban in the Valley

Several students who were to appear for the entrance examination of Aligarh Muslim University held in Srinagar on April 7 could not make it to centre due to the ban.
Highway Ban in the Valley

Image for representational use only.Image Courtesy : Livemint

On the first day of implementing the government’s order to ban civilian traffic on the 271-km-Baramulla-Udhampur national highway, politicians across the political divide came together against the decision. Civilian traffic was restricted on the highway to allow free passage to military convoys to various parts of Kashmir.

Barricades were erected, and additional troops and mobile bunkers were deployed to seal roads leading to the highway. Many students couldn't appear for the entrance examinations as they couldn’t reach the examination centres. The entrance examination for Aligarh Muslim University was held yesterday, April 7, in the capital Srinagar. Requesting anonymity, a student who appeared in the examination told NewsClick, "Of 1,200 students who were supposed to appear in the exams, only 600 were present. Mostly the students from far flung areas like Uri and others couldn't make it to the centre." With restrictions on the movement of daily essentials like milk and vegetables from South Kashmir to Srinagar, the lives of locals were also affected. Shops and markets on the way to the highway also remained closed.

The ban was enforced to avoid any event like the Pulwama terror attack and the aborted attack on the CRPF convoy in Banihal. In order to defy the ban, political parties took to the streets and called for a revocation of the ban. The highway closure was enforced at 4 AM and lasted till 5 PM.

Also Read: Traffic Ban In Valley Will Cause Huge Economic Loss, Say Experts

However, exceptions were made for emergency cases with due security check-up. Duty magistrates have been deployed along the highway to issue special travel passes for emergency services. A groom and his family were granted permission to travel only after "proper frisking and security check-up." The order issued read, "Danish Ali son of Showkat Ali Bhat of New Qazi Bagh Anantnag District Anantnag accompanied by 12 persons be allowed to move from Anantnag to Doda along with vehicle no's JK*** in connection with marriage ceremony on 06-04-2019 and back on 07-04-2019 after proper frisking/security check (The permission is valid only for two days.)"

Political commentators have termed this ban as a "violation of fundamental rights enshrined in the Indian constitution guaranteed under article 19 and 21." The Baramulla-Srinagar-Anantnag-Jammu highway is the sole connecting link in the valley. Political analysts believe that "alternative solutions should have been explored in the form of either fine-tuning the timing of the convoys or using special trains from Banihal to Srinagar, or even using airlifting as an option." The ban shall remain in force till May 31.

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