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The Hindu
The Hindu
Peerzada Ashiq

J&K Police to phase out curbs on civilian vehicle movement

The practice of halting the civilian traffic during the Army convoy movement on the highways in the Kashmir valley is being relooked at by the J&K Police, which will put in place fresh standard operating procedures (SOPs) to end such an exercise in a phased manner.

Additional Director General of Police Vijay Kumar, who chaired a meeting of several security agencies in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district on Saturday, proposed to conduct a joint survey of the convoy movement on the national highways.

“It was decided that no civil traffic will be stopped on national highways during VVIPs or senior officers’ movement as an immediate measure and also to suggest additional measures for smooth flow of civilian traffic in phased manners,” a police spokesman said. 

The officers from different wings of the security agencies were asked to conduct joint surveys and prepare SOPs to facilitate the free flow of traffic without compromising the security of convoys in a phase manner. “New SOPs would be submitted to higher-ups for further approval,” the police said. 

Mr. Kumar, according to the spokesman, asked officers to recommend some changes to modify the SOPs in order to maintain a smooth flow of civilian traffic during convoy movements without unnecessary hindrance. 

The officers of the J&K Police, Central Armed Police Forces and Army were asked to identify the spots on national highway “where engineering intervention is required in raising heights of dividers, direct lateral entries and U-turn”.

“They were also advised to identify the spots where service lane is required and also send joint recommendation where underpass or over pass are required to maintain the smooth flow of traffic on the highway,” the spokesman said.

The J&K Police are planning to install additional CCTVs on the highways. The police will employ Station House Officersand Sub-Divisional Police Officers on the national highway during the convoy movement at vulnerable spots, the spokesman said. Mr. Kumar also urged the traffic police to deploy additional manpower on important and busy laterals on the national highway.

“All districts Senior Superintendents of Police were also instructed to generate specific inputs and launch anti-terrorist operations along the sides of the national highway and take legal actions against over ground workers operating in these areas,” the police spokesman said.

In the wake of the Pulwama attack in 2019, which left 40 CRPF jawans dead on the national highway near Lethpora, the Army changed protocols for the convoy movements. Civilian traffic would be halted till safe passage of the convoys on the highways in the Valley, especially south Kashmir.

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