CLOSED ROAD: UDHAMPUR-BARAMULLA HIGHWAY BAN
12, Apr 2019
Prelims level : Polity and Governance Mains level : GS-III (Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention)
Why in News:
- The ban on civilian traffic for two days a week on the 271-km stretch of National Highway 44 between Udhampur in Jammu and Baramulla in Kashmir on April 7, is an ill-advised move.
- The ban which is to last till May 3, is to enable the orderly conduct of the Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir, considering the tragic February 14 suicide attack on a CRPF convoy on NH 44 at Pulwama that killed 40 personnel.
Problems due to ban:
- NH 44 is the lifeline of the State where it is vital to move goods (including perishable agricultural produce), Along it, there are many educational and medical institutions, avoiding the stretch would greatly multiply the time and distance between two points.
- It bans militates against the freedom of movement at the heart of a democratic society. Restrictions violate Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.
- National Highway 44 (NH 44) is the longest-running
- major north–south National Highway in India. It begins from Srinagar and terminates in Kanyakumari.
- The highway passes through the states of Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. NH-44 was laid and is maintained by Central Public Works Department.
Recent Terror Attack at Pulwama:
- The recent attack on a convoy of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on the Jammu- Srinagar Highway has shaken the country.
- Both public and private spaces can be seen wearing a sense of gloom as the bodies of 40 CRPF jawans who lost their lives in the attack reach their families.
- According to reports, the 78-vehicle convoy of CRPF was attacked by an explosive-laden SUV near Awantipora in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district.
- The SUV, identified as a Scorpio, was being driven by a 20-year-old suicide bomber named Adil Ahmad Dar with links to terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed.
Jaish-e-Mohammed: Pakistan-based terrorist organisation:
- Jaish-e-Muhammad (JEM or Army of Muhammad) is a Pakistan-based armed group that aims to undermine and overthrow Indian control over Indian-administered Kashmir through attacks on security and government targets.
- The group was founded by Masood Azhar, who previously fought under the banner of Harkat-ul-Mujahideen and has been linked to al-Qaeda.
- JeM has carried out several high-profile suicide and other attacks against Indian targets since its formation.
- The group is said to have actively supported the Afghan Taliban’s fight against US-led NATO forces since 2001.
India’s response against the attack has been two-pronged so far:
- India has withdrawn the Most Favoured Nation or MFN status to Pakistan and imposed 200 per cent customs duties on goods from across the border.
- India granted the MFN status to Pakistan way back in 1996. Under the MFN pact, a WTO member country is obliged to treat the other trading nation in a non-discriminatory manner, especially with regard to customs duty and other levies.
- New Delhi has asked the international community to support naming JeM chief Masood Azhar as a “UN designated terrorist”.
- instead, it could double up the security protocol to make life more secure and hassle-free for civilians and soldiers alike.