Anantnag: On Saturday, a day ahead of the first day of ban on civilian traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway in Kashmir valley, dozens of civilians thronged the Anantnag Deputy Commissioner’s office to secure necessary ‘permission’ required to travel on the highway.
Official sources said that at least 17 such permissions were granted during the day from the Anantnag DC’s office.
A would-be groom and his family who are supposed to travel to Doda district for his marriage were among the people who applied and were granted the necessary permission.
The J&K government this week issued a diktat that no civilian traffic would be allowed in Kashmir on the national highway for two days a week — Wednesday and Sunday. The decision, the government maintained, was taken to prevent any fidayeen attack on convoys of security forces.
“In wake of the elections there will be heavy movement of the forces convoy and to prevent any inconvenience to the general public this step has been taken,” Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Khan, told media persons on Friday.
He said that necessary measures and steps have been taken to ensure that people do not suffer.
“The district administrations have been sensitised to deal with the situation. Ambulances and school buses will be exempted from the ban and it will be ensured that people do not suffer in wake of any unforeseen eventuality,” Khan said.
Partly relieved by Khan’s assurances, dozens of people today thronged the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Anantnag to secure permission for their travel.
The whole process, however, proved extremely hectic and only a handful of people finally managed to secure the permission, but with riders — that they will be properly frisked and security checks will take place.
“I have been pushing my application from one desk to another since morning today. My son is appearing in an exam tomorrow in Srinagar and I have to travel on the highway tomorrow. I fear he might miss the exam if things move at such a slow pace here,” a resident of Dilagam area in Anantnag district told Kashmir Reader.
A senior official at the Deputy Commissioner’s office told Kashmir Reader that it has been chaos all day.
“We are trying to figure out the modalities ourselves for now. Things will get clearer in a day or two and then it will be a smooth process,” the official said.
He added that 17 permissions were granted during the day.
“It is hard to tell how many applications were received in total. But we have processed 17 of them and permissions have been granted,” the official said.
Among the lucky ones to secure the permission was Danish Ali’s family from New Qazi Bagh area of Anantnag town. Ali has to travel to Doda, along with his family, to get his bride.
The family, however, had to provide a list of people who will be travelling to Doda, along with the number of cars (and their registration numbers) they will be travelling in.
Moreover, they have been asked to cooperate whenever they are stopped for frisking and security checks along the highway.
People living in different parts of south Kashmir have been anxious over the ban and are closely monitoring how the restrictions will turn out.