Akeel Rashid

Your poor planning is not our emergency

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The electoral process is a stepping stone to form a democratic political system which would ensure “rule of the people”, “for the people” and “by the people”. With the electoral processes, in the form of Lok Sabha polls, well underway in the country, the sense of “rule of the people” may have set in, in all other states but it has been kept from prevailing in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Let me explain the rationale behind my argument: A purely undemocratic decision to restrict the civilian traffic on the National Highway, for two days a week, has firstly robbed the J&K people of their human rights and secondly it leaves no scope for holding a meaningful electoral process.

More to the point: In a democratic country, one should not be just proud of casting his/her vote, but s/he should be given every right to question the system and demand an explanation from those who run it, which is not, unfortunately, the case in this part of the country. The mainstream politicians coming on the roads to protest the “Highway Ban” is a sign of unhealthy democracy as it has made the common people to question the role of their would be representatives, who will be wielding power and authority on their behalf in the Parliament and Assembly. Furthermore, the mediocre response of politicians – awaiting to represent the people and constitute an elected government – who are yet to weigh in on the Government order which is in congruous with reason, in its entirety, is causing utter misery and helplessness to common people.

The reasons behind the decision to restrict civilian traffic movement on Sundays and Wednesdays justify the title “Your poor planning is not our emergency” of this article. In protracted conflict zones, like Kashmir, violence comes uninvited and proper planning becomes necessary to prevent apprehensions from becoming an emergency. Now, when it is evident that people are being already compelled to experience an emergency for two days a week, it is the poor planning on the part of Security Agencies that becomes apparent.

There is an apparent confusion among the common people with regard to National Highway restrictions as according to them convoy movement is being witnessed on other days too, apart from Sundays and Wednesdays. The “and” part of Government order “and substantial movement of the Security Forces (SFs) during the ongoing Parliamentary Elections-2019, there is an immediate need to regulate the traffic movement on the highway to ensure Security of the SFs as [sic] also the civilian traffic to safeguard to human life” clears the confusion over why army convoys can be seen plying throughout the week.

The initials of the order “In view of the prevailing security situation, viz; Pulwama Terror attack and another car bomb attack on the Security Forces’ convoy at Banihal” when analyzed vis-à-vis its “and” part revives the confusion over the movement of convoys on other days.

Government may renew its justifications with regard to the restrictions on National Highway but here, in this write-up, the intension is to just scratch the surface of the decision and the simple scratching reveals the loopholes in the order.

The author tweets @Akeel_rashid_

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