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How about blocking all roads!

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By: Mir Abass

A dictate was issued by the government of Jammu and Kashmir stating that civilian traffic on the highway would be banned from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. every Sunday and Wednesday until May 31. This is to allow smoothand exclusive movement of security convoys on the highway no matter how many people are affected by it!

It is clear that the decision comes after a suicide bomber rammed his car into a military convoy on the same highway - a lifeline for a large number of civilians - in Kashmir's Pulwama town that had killed at least 40 army personnel in February this year.

In an order issued on Wednesday, the government spokesman said: "Keeping in view the large movement of security forces on the national highway during the parliamentary elections and associated possibility of any Fidayeen [suicide] terror attack on security forces' convoys, the state government has notified specified days in a week for the movement of security forces from Srinagar to Jammu. During these days, no civilian traffic would be allowed on the National Highway."

Some Mainstream Politicians call themselves Mujahid-e-Awal , some call for restoring presidency and Prime Minstership to the state of Jammu and Kashmir while some say that they want dual currency and road link to Pakistan. But what happens to such voices when the freedom of 10 million people is being chocked like this? You cannot move on roads on particular days even if you have meddica emergency, if you have to drop you kid to the school, if you have to report to your department or have a case in a court. Nobody is spared- nobody! The 300 km long Baramullah Jammu highway that connects the valley with the rest of the country and also forms the interconnects between several district is officially closed for the masses- what a democracy, what a welfare state!

The partial ban was ordered in connection with the recent fidayeen attack when a car rammed into the Canvoy and killed scores. But the recent decision to ban civilian movement, many say, has been imported from Israel, as in Gaza certain roads are blocked for Gazans for the same reasons . The decision has no moral grounds and lacks even common sense besides causing inconvenience to thousands and thousands of people and to the entire society. This way, the administration is fully demonstrating that the people here have no value and that the collective work cultures mean nothing to the ruling elite. It is like targeting the entire functioning of a region without having any consideration for the inhabitants. The government must ponder over the decision and revoke it immediately.

The writer is Assistant Professor, Department of English at Degree College Handwara.

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