Choking Roads means Choking Freedom!

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By: Mudasir Ahmad Gori

The decision to stop the civilian traffic on national highway on Wednesday and Sunday in view of the large movement of security forces has sent shock waves among the general masses. It has really upset the people of Kashmir and the tall claims of democracy have been exposed by this decision yet again. There are varied responses coming from all corners of Kashmir and why not, it tantamount to curbing the civil movement and one fails to understand that when in a welfare state, the priority is the civilians, how come such a decision?

The justification that has been given is that by doing so, the administration and the security apparatus wants to ensure that force convoys march smoothly no matter how inconvenient it may be for the public. The announcement came in view of the recent Pulwama suicide attack where a explosive laden car was driven right into a military convoy on the same highway near Lethpora. It has to be understood that this highway lifeline for many people and choking the movement of civilians on selected days would mean choking the freedom of seventy lakh people.

The decision is more like a parody of Israel politics and to reprimand Kashmiri like Gaza. The civilians as well as mainstream politician have raised voice and concern blaming that India had adopted the Israel model of politics by not allowing people to use its own roads for security reasons. Now the issue is what will happen to the people who travel regularly on the highway for many reasons. I am sure there are many children who have to take the highway to reach to their schools. Does that mean they should not go to schools on these days? It is believed that children are the launch pad of any nations but you are stopping our children from going to school, how would they come to terms with an administration like this which is curbing their freedom to education and movement?

There are many government employees who rush to their respective departments through this highway and it, thus, means that they too will have to forget their official works and how many people will suffer for their non-availability at places like courts, Tehsil, blocks, banks etc, hospitals- since many doctors too have to travel to reach their respective hospitals and clinics.

When most of the budget gets spend on the defence section, why can’t there be other alternatives made available? Such a massive and collective discomfort and inconvenience to masses is never heard of and one thinks that the administration is hell-bent upon making some kind of a statement here.  There are numerous ways to ensure safe passage of army convoys and transportation through Air is also one option available to the government which can ensure that the threat of attacks is thwarted easily. The need is to see alternative ways rather than curbing the civilian movement and everyone know that the normal chores can’t be stopped for security reasons. For any country, or state, its people are the first priority- isn’t it so for India as well?

Just because of security reasons, the movement of people cannot be stopped and such a move is only adding to the injury and to ensure that the people of Kashmir suffer from mental, physical and psychological tortures. It is therefore an onslaught on the entire population of Kashmir and also very unfortunate that the administration is again giving out a loud and clear signal that people of aKashmir do not matter and that subjugation is in their fate!

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