NAPM demands immediate withdrawal of highway ban

NAPM demands immediate withdrawal of highway ban
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SRINAGAR : National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) – a grouping of civil and human rights organisations in India – has said the ban on civilian traffic on Baramul la-Udhampur highway for two days “reaffirmed the suspicion that BJP-led government is ideologically attracted to the shameful policies of Israel with regard to Palestine”.

Demanding its immediate withdrawal, NAPM said the ban has parallels also with the Apartheid in South Africa and the Nazi treatment of Jews in Hitler’s Germany. “This is an unfair, undemocratic and draconian step, which goes against the Indian Constitution,” it said in a statement.

“This is yet another in a series of unacceptable measures taken by the Narendra Modi government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the most recent being the closing of a number of link roads to the same highway,” NAPM said. The J&K government since last week banned civilian traffic on the Barmulla-Udhampur highway for two days a week and allows only government forces’ convoy on Sunday and Wednesday.

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The move has come under sharp criticism from political parties and a petition has been filed in J&K High Court challenging the order. “The move is clearly an assault on J&K’s economy,” said NAPM national leaders including Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey and Shankar Singh. Underlining that the highway is the only surface link to Kashmir thus a lifeline to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, NAPM said the prohibition will harm studies of students, employment of workers, agriculture of farmers, and business of traders. “Yet again, the government is using the cover of national security to heap misery on the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” NAPM said, adding, “Given the existence of a railway line from Banihal to Baramulla, this step is needless.”