SRINAGAR Restrictions on civilian movement on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway (NH-44) would be completely lifted from May 27, the government announced on Tuesday.
On April 3, the state administration had banned civilian traffic movement on the highway between Baramulla and Udhampur on Sundays and Wednesdays to enable the increased movement of government forces. The decision was taken keeping in mind the Pulwama attack on February 14 in which 49 Central Reserve Police Force personnel were killed. The restrictions were then partially lifted on April 20, May 2 and May 13.
On Tuesday, an official state said that Governor Satya Pal Malik decided to lift the restrictions following a review of the security situation in the state and of the requirement of (government) forces convoys. These restrictions had become necessary following the movement of security forces on an unprecedented scale after the Pulwama attack. The forces were required both for anti-militancy operations and for smooth conduct of general elections, reads the official statement issued here.
The government forces were required both for anti-militancy operations and for smooth conduct of general elections.
In order to facilitate safe and secure movement of government Forces Convoys, it said, the Government had imposed a prohibition on civilian traffic on highway from Baramulla to Udhampur twice a weekon Sunday & Wednesday, from 4.00 a.m to 5.00 p.m. Elaborate arrangements were, however, made by the local administration to facilitate movement of public during the period of restriction.
Earlier, the restriction on civilian movement between Srinagar and Baramulla on NH-44 was limited to Sunday only w.e.f. 22-04-2019 and later completely lifted w.e.f. from 2-5-2019. Restrictions on the Srinagar Udhampur stretch were limited to just one day w.e.f. 13.5.2019.
After a detailed review today with all security agencies, civil and police administration in connection with the preparations for the Shri Amarnathji Yatra, the Governor directed that there should be no restriction on civilian movement on NH 44 from Monday, 27.5.2019.
The Governor thanked the people of the state for cooperating with the measures which were necessitated in the larger interest of the state and for welfare of the people.
The government had claimed that the restrictions struck a balance between the needs of people and security forces.
The order was criticised by several political leaders in April. They called it anti-civilian and filed petitions in the state High Court. The Centre justified the decision and said it would ensure safe movement of government forces.
The government had put procedures in place to enable the movement of civilian vehicles in case of emergencies but local media outlets reported about the chaos, confusion and inconvenience caused by the order. On April 10, the second day of the ban, a patient died after his ambulance was stopped because of the restrictions.