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Srinagar:

The blanket ban on the civilian movement along the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway stretch twice a week starting from today have left hundreds of civilians stranded.

Reports are pouring in from different parts of the valley where distressed civilians calling the ban as a move to alienate the region. Srinagar-Jammu NH is the only highway connecting Kashmir to the rest of the world.

The move was widely criticized by both political parties and civilian groups calling the ban as draconian. They say banning civilian traffic over security concern has never happened in the past.

The ban was enforced by the centre to prevent any attack similar to the suicide bombing in February this year on the same stretch where 40 CRPF soldiers are killed. The road is exclusively opened to paramilitary forces on every Sunday and Wednesday from 4 am to 5 pm as part of security arrangements for 2019 Lok Sabha polls till May 31.

National Conference vice president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah called the ban as a mindless decision. “Driving to Uri I’m getting to see first hand the extent of disruption & inconvenience that is being caused to people because of the mindless highway closure order that is in place today,” Abdullah tweeted.

Sharing similar sentiments, Peoples Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone said that the ban has crippled normal activity across the state.

“The highway ban is now turning into a humanitarian disaster. Flooded will calls from across the state. People in dire need to travel in order to tend to their day to day needs of survival stuck in a state of helplessness. @jandkgovernor urgently needs to scrap the inhuman order.” He tweeted.

Kashmir Observed, one of the widely read newspapers from the valley published a piece slamming the ban.

“At one level, as is also widely agreed now, it is an admission of the failure of the centre’s Kashmir policy of the past five years,” the report said.

“Far from ushering in peace in the state, the muscular militaristic policy has only worsened the situation. Such is the level of deterioration that the priority is now to protect the forces from the people which otherwise are supposed to protect and provide security to people in the state,” the report further said.

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