People face ‘inconvenience, harassment’ during convoy movement on Kashmir roads
Srinagar: Commuters face immense problems during the movement of convoys on Kashmir highway in South and North Kashmir. They have been accusing soldiers and troopers of harassment. The ‘unruly’ behavior of troopers on highway often leads to arguments and sometimes commuters are being thrashed for questioning the ‘diktats’ of forces personnel.
“We are really living in Hell and the behavior of troopers with us on daily basis makes us feel that we have been enslaved and stripped off our dignity and honour,” said a driver Showkat Ahmed who plies on Srinagar-Anantnag route.
“The soldiers guarding highway stop us 30 minutes before the arrival of any convoy. We are not allowed to go and forced to wait for over 30 minutes even after the disappearance of the Convoy from the roads,” said another driver.
The commuters allege that they face harassment on daily basis. “We receive abuses and invectives from troopers and sometimes even we are being thrashed and our vehicles damaged,” they said while talking to news agency CNS near protest site at Letapora where CRPF personnel thrashed school students.
A school bus belonging to Hajahad High School Awantipora was not allowed to move ahead despite an official order by the authorities that school buses and ambulances shall be allowed to move during the convoy. However when the students protest the CRPF men deployed thrashed many of them including a minor girl.
Pertinently, after the February 14 attack at Lethpora central government issued a circular barring traffic movement during the movement of any convoy. Since then, a large number of videos are viral showing troopers thrashing drivers, damaging vehicles and even stopping ambulances during the convoy movement. Though Army have termed these allegations baseless but the scenes on the ground depicts a different story. “The journey that I used to complete in an hour takes now 2 hours. I am being stopped at different intersections because of the convoy movement,” said a businessman from Baramulla.
“The situation today reminds me of 1990’s when were directed to alight from our vehicles and forced to walk by foot for a kilometer with our hands up. It was late Mufti Muhammad Syed, the then Chief Minister who stopped that practice,” he added.
After the Letapora attack, people have been facing lot of incontinence. “My village used to get connected to highway through a link road but recently that was dug up by authorities.
Government closed over 18 link roads leading to Srinagar-Jammu highway stretch between Srinagar and Qazigund after the Letapora attack.
These link roads were notified by the authorities as threat to highway security have already been dug by the RAMKY Infrastructure Limited.
“We are in a quagmire and we don’t know what to do,” said a protester at Letapora.