Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

Stopping ambulances, schools buses during convoy movement triggers public outcry

Srinagar: A massive public out-cry has started across Kashmir as forces stop the ambulances and school buses during the convoy moment in the Valley forcing the security agencies to make changes in the convoy movement plan to ensure ambulances ferrying patients and school buses are allowed to proceed when convoys ply.
Eye-witnesses said on the highways—Srinagar Jammu and Srinagar Baramulla, school buses and ambulances besides civilian vehicles are halted for the smooth passage of convoy movement.
In congested Srinagar city, the issue has resulted in a major controversy with the videos of scuffles between the drivers of school buses, ambulances and commuters entering into verbal dual with the forces personnel deployed for the convoy protection, going viral on various social networking sites including Facebook and Twitter.
In one of the videos, the driver of an ambulance is seen requesting the forces personnel to allow him to proceed as he was ferrying a patient from South Kashmir and that he should reach SMHS hospital. However, he is not asked to proceed further with forces personnel asking him to wait till 15 minutes till convoy passes off from the area.
Another local is seen requesting the forces personnel to allow his vehicle to move ahead as he had to drop his children at school and he was already getting late. But he too is not being allowed to go ahead with the result many locals are questioning the convoy plan of the forces.
Arshid Rasool, a resident of Srinagar said that at 8 am, CRPF convoy was moving from Boulevard to Rajbagh and near Radio Kashmir, TRC crossing, Dalgate, the civilian traffic was stopped simultaneously for around 20 minutes.
“The commuters got irritated and started to blow their horns that sent the message to the CRPF men deployed for convoy protection that the people were getting irritated,” said Rasool, who was travelling from old city Srinagar to Rajbagh where he works in a private office.
Ever since the deadly attack on the CRPF convoy at Lethpora, Pulwama that left 40 CRPF men dead and dozens of others injured, the security agencies worked out a “secure convoy plan” to ensure no civilian vehicle is allowed to move alongside the forces vehicles.
In the Lethpora attack, the suicide attacker Adil Dar of Jaish-e-Muhammad rammed his vehicle laden with the explosives, into the CRPF convoy resulting the massive damage to the CRPF vehicle ferrying 40 personnel, all of whom died on the spot.
A CRPF official said that they will sit again with the officials of police, army and the CRPF to fine-tune the convoy movement plan and ensure that essential services vehicles including ambulances and school buses are allowed to proceed along with the convoy vehicles so that patients reach hospital and students to schools on time. “We understand the issue and will address it accordingly,” the official said.
Similarly, traffic department also has decided to ensure that the school buses and ambulances are allowed to ply even if the convoy movement is going on in the area. “These vehicles are part of essential services and they can’t be halted. We will ensure that there is no inconvenience to students and patients,” a senior traffic official confirmed.


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The Kashmir Horizon