Rail And Road Traffic Suspended Between Jammu And Kashmir Over Protests

19 October 2015
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Rail and road traffic from Jammu to Valley was suspended on Monday as protests broke out in Kashmir over the death of a truck driver Zahid Ahmed Bhat of Anantnag who along with another person had sustained burns in a petrol bomb attack in Udhampur on October 9. Over 2,000 vehicles including load carriers were stranded at various places along the national highway between Jammu and Banihal as traffic police did not allow any vehicle to cross Jawahar tunnel since Sunday night. This has been done as a precautionary measure in view of rising tempers in the Valley following news about the death of a Kashmiri trucker injured during attack by some persons at Udhampur, said officials at the Traffic Police Control Room in Ramban. While nearly 600 vehicles were stranded in Ramban district, another 600 were stopped in Udhampur, police said. The number of those stranded in Jammu district since Sunday night was much more, it added. The train service between Banihal and Baramulla too was suspended in the morning following blockade of tracks by protesters near Bijbehara in Anantnag, said a railway official at Banihal. As a precautionary measure, the authorities decided to suspend train services for the day from 10 am, he added. Ten pair of trains ply daily between Banihal and Baramulla ferrying thousands of passengers. Nearly 7,000 passengers board trains only at Banihal railway station for Valley daily, sources added. Meanwhile, all the shops and other business establishments got closed at Banihal as people in the town observed bandh to express their solidarity with the people protesting over the death of Zahid in adjoining Valley. Raising slogans against government, they also took out a procession in the town. Zahid along with Showkat Ahmed had sustained burns in a petrol bomb attack on their Kashmir bound truck which was loaded with coal. Both were airlifted to Delhi for specialized treatment, but former succumbed to burns there. The police have so far arrested nine people including a Nepalese for murder. Five of them have been detained under Public Safety Act, while hunt is on for one more accused in the matter. A police constable too has been taken into custody, but his involvement into the matter is under investigation, a senior official said, adding that some more arrests are likely as investigations are in progress. Most of the arrested accused are youth whose families had migrated from their native places in Ramban and Udhampur districts in the wake of terrorist violence in 1990s.