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Shutting Srinagar-Jammu highway is "eerily" similar to Israeli policy in Gaza: NAPM

By Our Representative
The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded revocation of the Government of India’s bi-weekly ban on civil traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway, calling it an “unfair, undemocratic and draconian step, which goes against the Indian Constitution.” In a statement, it says, “This is yet another in a series of unacceptable measures taken by the Narendra Modi government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the most recent being the closing of a number of link roads to the same highway.”
NAPM continues, “This step amounts to physically trapping an entire population and rendering them immobile”, adding, “Such a step was not taken even during the violence of the 1990s. It is eerily similar to the Israeli policy in Gaza, and reaffirms the suspicion that this government is ideologically attracted to the shameful policies of Israel with regard to Palestine.”
 NAPM in a statement says, the move is “clearly an assault on J&K's economy”, as the highway is “the only roadway link to Kashmir and thus a lifeline to the people of J&K. It will harm the studies of students, the employment of workers, the agriculture of farmers, the business of traders- reducing their access to the highway from three days a week to two, and the well-being of the general public.”
Pointing out that it will “adversely affect tourism, an important sector for the state's economy”, NAPM says, “The upcoming months are also crucial for exports, which will again be affected by this step. The government has cited the need to provide a secure passage to security forces on duty for upcoming elections, but this is only a poor excuse.”
Demanding that the government “take steps towards demilitarising what is recognised by the United Nations as the most militarised zone in the world”, those who have signed the statement include well-known activists Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy, Nikhil Dey, Shankar Singh, Dr Binayak Sen, Prafulla Samantara, P Chennaiah, Kavita Srivastava, Sandeep Pandey, Sister Celia, and others.

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