No economic blockade of Kashmir now, says government

August 18th, 2008 - 9:22 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) The government Monday admitted that there was a blockade of the highway to Kashmir Valley for 3-4 days but said the traffic was “moving freely” now. “There was an obstruction of national highway for 3-4 days initially. But now the traffic is moving freely and smoothly between Jammu and Kashmir,” Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said at a press conference.

“Between 8 p.m. August 17 to 8 a.m. on August 18, 480 trucks went from Jammu to Srinagar carrying goods like, liquefied petroleum gas, meat, chicken, sugar and rice,” Gupta added.

“In the same duration, 550 trucks from valley reached Jammu, out of which 415 were carrying fruits. The traffic on highway will continue to move freely,” he said.

“The administration at the valley has informed us that the number of trucks moving between Jammu and Srinagar at present is nearly four times to that of the usual number,” another home ministry official pointed out.

About the march to the United Nations’ observers’ office in Srinagar, Gupta said: “It is nothing unusual and has happened from time to time. It was not stopped earlier and should not be stopped now.”

The government wants to ensure there is no violence, loss of life and property, he said.

The home secretary also talked about the Shri Amarnath Yatra Sangharsh Samiti’s (SAYSS) call for ‘jail bharo’ or fill-the-jails campaign demanding return of land to the Amarnath shrine management.

“A large number of people took part in it in various districts of Jammu but it was peaceful. There were only a couple of incidents of stone pelting at Jammu,” Gupta said.

“In present situation, we have to work make an environment conducive. For dialogue between Jammu and Kashmir, an effort has to be made and is being made,” he said.

Asked about the CRPF inspector general Sunil Kumar Jain in Srinagar whose name was allegedly removed from the Independence Day honours list over alleged excesses by his force, Gupta said: “There is no question of not giving medal to him. There was a communication gap and medal will be given to him.”

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