Why is traffic movement stopped for ‘VIPs’, SHRC asks govt to explain

SRINAGAR: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) on Tuesday issued notices to police and civil administration over halting of traffic movement for ‘VIPs’, describing the act as human rights violation prima-facie.
The human rights tribunal, which was responding to a petition filed from Jammu, has asked the Divisional Commissioners of both regions of the state and the state’s chief of Traffic Police to submit a factual report over the matter.
“In the first instance issue notices to Divisional Commissioners Kashmir and Jammu, IGP Traffic…for filing their factual reports in the matter. The Commission cannot lose sight of the facts prevailing in the state on account of security scenario, but Traffic Department needs to adopt measures to minimize the inconvenience of the public in general due to stoppage of traffic to give safe passage to VIPs not entitled for the same,” said SHRC’s acting chairperson Rafiq Fida.
“I have considered the averments made in the complaint which disclose prima-facie a case of human rights violation,” he said.
Halting of traffic movement to allow movement of ‘VIPs’ like the Chief Minister or other ministers or bureaucrats has seemingly become a routine in the state. In Kashmir Valley, for instance, traffic signals are put off at certain hours to allow smooth movement of ‘VIPs’, a fact highlighted in the petition.
The practice of halting civilian movement to facilitate the ‘VIP’ movement including that of the ministers or even senior bureaucrats, as per the petition, is being done in breach of the set protocol that allows such a practice only in case of the Prime Minister, President or Vice-President of India.
The petitioner has prayed that the act “costs lives at time in view of medical emergency when patients need immediate treatment in hospitals”, and that it “hits the right to liberty and right to freedom of movement of the general public.”
The case has been listed for hearing on March 30 by when the divisional administration and Traffic Police will have to file its reports.