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GCC appeals GOI to lift ban on highway


Srinagar, Apr 10 (KNS): The Group of Concerned Citizens appealed to the Government of India, to lift the blanket ban on the use of highway by civilian vehicles twice a week, (Wednesday and Sunday).

GCC is comprised of civil society members, across communities and regions, including jurists, former civil servants academicians, journalists, businessmen and social activists, namely, Mohammad Shafi Pandit, former Chairman J&K PSC Ghulam Rasool Sufi, Former Chief Information Commissioner Abdul Wahid Qureshi, Former Vice Chancellor GH Kango Former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Anuradha Bhasin Head of Kashmir Times Nusrat Andrabi, Krishan Lal Kaul Businessman, Masood Ahmad Shah Businessman, Prof Nissar Ali Academician, Abdul Rashid Khan Former IGP, Rafiq Masoodi former DDG Prasar Bharti, Masood Hussain Artist, Feroze Ahmad former Census Commissioner from Ladakh, Krishi Pandit, GD Bakshi cooperative activist and many others.

According to a statement issued to KNS, the GCC said it is gathered from the media reports that even the Army has objected to the contents of the order. “The Army convoy has been moving on other days as well, because of which civilians suffer further harassment as their movement is subjected to additional restrictions,” the statement reads.

“We observe with concern the manner in which the ban is causing severe hardships to the public and impacting Kashmir’s economy, trade and education. The movement on the highway has already been severely hit because of inclement weather conditions and it is pertinent to point out that the Jammu-Srinagar highway is the main life-line to the Valley and crucial for the existence of the people,” the group said.

It said the present ban has specially hit the patients who are unable to reach hospitals and other health care institutions on time, jeopardizing their health. “The permit system adopted by the government to allow movement of patients, ambulances and wedding parties is impractical and is causing immense harassment to ordinary citizens,” it added.

The statement reads that it is also a mockery of democracy if people have to take written permits for carrying on their day to day lives, and also for taking part in the process of parliamentary elections, which has already commenced.

“While we have no issues with adopting a proper safety protocol for ensure safety of the forces, we are of the view that the ban/restrictions, in the present form, are totally unjustified, and militate against the fundamental rights of the citizens, as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution,” it reads.

“In view of the undemocratic nature of the ban, the practical difficulties in its implementation and the humanitarian crisis it is causing in Kashmir, we demand that the ban be lifted immediately and alternate means be found to ensure safety of the para-military troops during their transportation without causing hardships to the public and violating their fundamental rights,” the statement added. (KNS)