Day 2 of ban on civilian traffic on highway

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 4/11/2019 4:15:01 PM

SRINAGAR, Apr 10: After Sunday, the ban on the movement of civilian traffic remained in effect on Srinagar-Udhampur-Jammu highway from 4.00 AM to 5.00 PM today.
Officials said no such ban was today on Baramulla road in view of the polling for Lok Sabha elections there tomorrow.
Like Sunday, the security forces had taken over the control of the highway last night. They had set up additional check points and laid barbed wire on roads to stop civilian traffic.
The residents as well as tourists faced inconvenience due to the ban on civilian traffic. However, the state-appointed magistrates provided some respite by "stamping" special permission on either a piece of paper or palms of travellers.
Several people, including the elderly and women, were seen at various intersections pleading security forces and duty magistrates appointed by the state government to allow them to move on the highway, which will remain out of bound for civilian traffic on Wednesdays and Sundays.
At Pantha Chowk through which the highway passes to south Kashmir and beyond, the security forces, deployed in strength, could be seen sending people to a vehicle parked on the roadside in which the duty magistrate for the area was considering requests from people and giving special permission to ply on the road.
Mohammad Shafi, who works as a revenue officer, has been posted as the duty magistrate for the area and it is his signature that would allow people cross the security check-point and move freely on the highway.
A family from Maharashtra, on a visit to Kashmir Valley, experienced first-hand the ban as the vehicle they were travelling in was stopped by security forces at the check-point.
They were told that they could move forward only if the magistrate gave them a pass - a written permission often on a piece of paper having a set of required details such as vehicle registration number.
Having never experienced such restrictions before, Francis, a resident of Mumbai who was heading the family, felt a sense of unease, wondering whether the vehicle would be allowed for a two-day trip to the famous health resort of Pahalgam in south Kashmir.
The driver, a local, came down from the vehicle and approached the magistrate's vehicle and pleaded before him that he had to take the tourist family to Pahalgam and be given a pass according to the government directions for exempting tourist vehicles from the ban.
Shafi took a sheet of paper -- a photo copy -- from a bundle of similar ones and filled the vehicle number and the other details in it and then signed below a typed paragraph which broadly said the vehicle be allowed to move.
Taking the pass from Shafi, the visibly happy driver then boarded his vehicle and Francis expressed joy over his trip not getting spoiled by the security measures.
After the tourist vehicle, a car, belonging to a local, was next in line. Two men and a woman were going to attend a wedding ceremony of one of their close relatives in the Bijbehara area of Anantnag district.
Manzoor Ahmad pleaded before Shafi and after some insistance, he succeeded in getting the pass. Elated, Ahmad then boarded his car and drove away. He was stopped by the security forces at a barricade some distance away, but was allowed to drive after he showed the pass.
Shafi had, till about noon, given 80 such passes most of them to the people with some kind of emergencies.
"We have orders to allow people in emergencies, tourists and school buses to move on the highway. But, they can only move once they have the necessary permission signed by a duty magistrate like me," Shafi told media.

 

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