Srinagar: The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik is reportedly not in favour of banning civilian traffic for two days in a week till 31 May in the state. Some media reports suggest that Malik has already taken up the revocation of ban with the Union Ministry of Home Affairs.
On the instructions of the Governor, for public convenience, a suggestion of deputing magistrates on the entire highway was made, so that patients, school-going children and other people in need are allowed on the highway even during the ban.
Despite instructions from the Raj Bhawan, those having required permission and commuters with official passes were stopped by the forces for hours. Many of the complaints have reached the Raj Bhawan and fresh instructions have come that the people on highway with passes should not be stopped.
There is seething anger among people on this ban on civilian traffic twice a week and it has caught the attention of politicians. Both the National Conference and PDP have defied the ban in recent past and have criticised this decision. Mehbooba Mufti in a controversial statement has asked people to defy the ban and use the highway for their private vehicles. She has also compared the decision of the government with the policy of Israel and has said that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government is trying to make Kashmir another Palestine.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs while defending the ban has said that it accounts only for 15% of the total weekly hours on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
The Ministry said that it was necessary following the Pulwama attack to ensure safe movement of forces on the highway till 31 May.
Recently, Shah Faisal has filed a writ petition in state High Court and the court has directed the ministry to file their response by 19 April.