40 branches affected in south Kashmir
Srinagar: Nearly forty bank branches in south Kashmir have stopped cash transactions after the security agencies issued an advisory to them in the backdrop of bank robberies in Pulwama.
A senior J&K Bank official while confirming the development said except for cash transactions, all banking operations would continue from the “vulnerable” branches. The advisory is meant for entire south Kashmir with emphasis on Pulwama and Shopian.
May 3, 2017: Ellaquai Dehati Bank Waibug and J&K Bank Nehama looted
May 2, 2017: Ellaquai Dehati Bank Kulgam looted
May 1, 2017: J&K Bank cash van attacked. Five policemen and two security guards of the bank killed
“More than 30 J&K Bank branches will be affected by the advisory. This is not only JK Bank specific advisory but also all banks have been included in the list,” he told Kashmir Reader. “We will continue to do transactions through cheques and drafts. ATMs will continue to dispense cash,” he added.
The official pointed out that the government forces have failed to provide security to the branches causing inconvenience to not only people but also the move would incur losses to the banks.
The banks received the advisory a day after two bank branches of J&K Bank and Ellaqahi Dehati Bank were looted in Pulwama within two hours on Wednesday. An amount of above Rs six lac was looted by unknown gunmen from the banks. Police has blamed militants for bank heists in south Kashmir, a charge denied by militant outfits.
The official said people in the affected areas can make cash transactions from designated branches in nearby towns. On Friday, JK Bank’s Khrew branch shifted its cash operations to Pampore branch while the Dadsara and Saimoo branches were operating out of Tral branch in Pulwama district.
“The step has been taken due to security reasons,” J&K Bank spokesman Sajjad Bazaz said.
Meanwhile, a Special meeting of State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) was held on Friday. Minister for Finance, Haseeb Drabu, said that surveillance could not substitute physical security. “We need to devise special security measures to deal with the kind of situations we face,” Drabu said at the meeting. The meeting was called for revisiting the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for augmenting and upgrading the physical security as well as ensuring safety of public life and property.