Sgr-Jmu highway shut for civilian traffic; NEET aspirants, Durbar Move vehicles allowed

Srinagar, May 5: The 300-km-long Srinagar-Jammu national highway, which connects Kashmir valley with the rest of the country, was once again closed for civilian traffic to allow free and secure movement of security force convoy.
However, civilian vehicles, carrying Durbar move officials from Jammu to Srinagar, were allowed to ply, while NEET aspirants were also allowed on the national highway in view of their examination on Sunday.
“Vehicles carrying move officials have been allowed to ply on Kashmir highway from Jammu to Srinagar on Sunday on the highway, despite the ban,” a traffic police official said.
He said civilian vehicles, carrying move officials, were allowed on Sunday following opening of Durbar Move offices, including the office of the Governor, in the summer capital, Srinagar on Monday. The Durbar Move offices closed in Jammu last month and will open in Srinagar on Monday in view by-annual shifting of the seat of the state government from winter capital to summer capital and vice-e-versa.
He said NEET aspirants have also been allowed on Kashmir highway, which connects different districts of the valley with each other. “Their admit cards will be considered as passes for them to ply on the highway,” he added.
The Government had imposed restrictions earlier this month on civilian movement on the National Highway, connecting Jammu to Srinagar, saying that the order was passed to ensure adequate security to the movement of security force convoys, while at the same time, minimising public inconvenience.
However, restriction imposed on the movement of civilian traffic on Srinagar-Baramulla national highway was completely lifted on Thursday after it was limited from two days a week to only Sundays last month.
Majority of the political parties in the state, including National Conference (NC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Congress, have opposed the ban and demanded its immediate revocation.
Three former chief ministers, including NC president Farooq Abdullah, vice-president Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, even staged protest demonstrations separately on the highway against the ban.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court (HC) on April 19 sought the government’s response on allegations of non-compliance with an administrative decision to issue travel passes for civilian traffic movement in case of emergencies the ban.
A bench of justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Tashi Rabstan was hearing the Public Interest Litigations (PILs) filed by a battery of lawyers representing the petitioners – including bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal, National Conference’s Ali Muhammad Sagar, Peoples Democratic Party’s Naeem Akhter and three lawyers – seeking striking down of the ban on the movement of civilian traffic on the Kashmir-Jammu national highway, for two days a week.