Omar stages sit-in against highway ban

Omar stages sit-in against highway ban
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SRINAGAR: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Wednesday led a protest march here to defy the state administration’s order banning civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu national highway for two days a week.
Abdullah, along with his party leaders and activists, staged a sit-in on the highway near Pantha Chowk area in the outskirts of the city demanding revocation of the order.
“We have been continuously asking the government to rethink on this order since the day this ‘Tughlaqi farmaan’ was issued. There is no need for such a ban,” he told reporters.
According to the order issued on April 3 by state Home Secretary Shaleen Kabra, no civilian traffic will be allowed to move from Baramulla in north Kashmir to Udhampur in Jammu region on Sundays and Wednesdays till May 31.
The restrictions on civilian traffic on the 271-km highway will remain in force from 4 am to 5 pm, said the order, which follows the suicide attack on a CRPF convoy in Pulwama. The highway passes through important towns such as Anantnag, Awantipora, Pampore, Srinagar, Pattan and Baramulla.
According to Abdullah, the Army has said they did not demand this ban.
“Former Army chief Gen V P Malik has termed this order a dumb idea. So, this small protest is to tell the government that please revoke this order and allow free movement of people on the highway,” Abdullah said. —PTI