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Omar, Sajad oppose highway restrictions

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Srinagar: Former J&K Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah Wednesday termed the decision to close Jammu-Srinagar national highway for civilian traffic a proof of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's failure to manage the internal security of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Another 1st for the Modi government after the 1st ever delayed assembly election now this shocker - never before in 30 years has the national highway ever been closed for civilian traffic like this," the National Conference vice-president tweeted.

"It's a glaring admission of failure to manage the internal security of J&K," he said.

The former J-K chief minister was reacting to a government order banning the movement of civilian vehicles on the 300-km long highway on Sundays and Wednesdays between 4 am and 5 pm to ensure safe passage of security forces' vehicles.

The restrictions will remain in force till May 31.

"Patients will not be able to reach hospitals, students will be deprived access to schools, employees won't be able to reach work and the list goes on & on. There has to be a better, less people unfriendly way of protecting forces using the highway," Abdullah said in another tweet.

Instead, the security forces should travel in special trains, he suggested.

"I've made this suggestion before & in light of today's highway closure order I feel the need to repeat it - why can't the forces travel between Banihal & Baramulla by special trains? Quicker, safer & more comfortable for the security forces," he said.

Former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally, the People's Conference chairman Sajad Gani Lone too hit out at the government.

"In the civilised world, military needs will always be subservient to civil needs. This certainly will be a first of its kind and will have disastrous social, political and economic consequences. The Govt should not carve a military identity for itself," Lone wrote on his Twitter handle.

"The order issued by Govt today on vehicular movement is too bad to be true. Can't believe they actually issued such an order. Makes mockery of liberties and restricts even the right to move," he added.

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