The ban on civilian traffic along the lifeline highway that connects Kashmir with the outside world came into effect on Sunday amid protests.
The government on Wednesday said civilian traffic on the 249 km Udhampur-Baramulla highway would be banned from 4 am to 5 pm every Sunday and Wednesday for national elections until May 31 for exclusive troop movement. The ban followed the February 14 car bombing along the highway that left 40 Central Reserve Police Force personnel dead.
Police, paramilitary and Army soldiers enforced the ban on civilian traffic along the highway from early in t
he morning on Sunday.
“It seems Kashmir is under a security crackdown. Is this humanity? Our rulers should understand that this is extremely unjust,” said Abdul Rashid Shah, who had to walk several kilometers with his granddaughter in his lap to reach Srinagar’s railway station crossing.
Many link roads connecting the highway were also blocked using barbed wires.
The government on Saturday named 18 officials to oversee the ban and help people in distress travel on the highway. The magistrates were deployed at all intersections on the highway.
Queues of people particularly sick were seen near the vehicles of the officials asking for permission slips.
The closure of the highway will directly affect at least seven districts. Hundreds of schools, colleges, banks and hospitals fall on this highway.
The administration called their arrangements for restrictions on highway successful. In a statement, governor Satya Pal Malik-led administration said special passes were given to 493 vehicles in Pulwama, Anantnag, Budgam and Baramulla districts.