GoI defends highway ban, says only ‘reasonable restrictions imposed’ to ensure forces’ safety

Srinagar: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has said the highway ban in Jammu and Kashmir is only for 12 hours, and only “reasonable restrictions” have been imposed.

As per a statement released by the MHA, the J&K govt has already clarified that out of 7 days a week, reasonable restrictions have been imposed, for only 12 hours, 2 days a week.

“This has been done to ensure safe movement of forces. Alternative routes like old NH & other internal roads available for commutation of civilians,” the statement reads.

Underlining that the ban became necessary in the backdrop of the Pulwama attack, MHA said that the step has been taken for ensuring safe movement of forces till May 31.

The statement comes at a time when the ministry has to file its reply to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court which has directed it to respond by April 19 to a bunch of petitions challenging the decision.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief Minister Omar Abdullah has criticised the statement saying that the press release sets a “new record for the number of untruths” told in the same statement.

The ban on movement of civilians has taken place post the attack on an armed forces personnel convoy in February in which over 40 CRPF men were killed.

Political parties in Kashmir have condemned the move to bank civilians from using the highway two days per week, comparing it to “Israeli policies”.


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