The district authorities of Anantnag in South Kashmir on Wednesday made a mockery of the ban on civilian traffic on the highway by putting the magistrate’s seal on an individual’s hand to permit his movement.

The government has earmarked Sunday and Wednesday exclusively for the movement of convoys of security forces on the Jammu-Srinagar Highway where movement of civilian vehicles has been banned on the two days following the terror attacks on CRPF convoys at Pulwama and Banihal.

Wednesday was the second day of the ban after last Sunday on 7 April.

A picture of the individual’s hand with permission to move on the highway written on it by a duty magistrate was trending on the social media with people criticising the ban.

Former chief ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have strongly reacted to the movement permission being written on the individual’s hand.

Omar Abdullah tweeted, “This is how permission is granted to people in J&K to use their highway. Their hands are being stamped & written on. I don’t know what to say! Should we be flippant & mock the attempt at saving paper? I’m just angry at the degrading, inhuman treatment being meted out to people”.

Shah Faesal, the former bureaucrat who recently resigned and formed his own political party, also reacted on the issue by tweeting, “Permission to travel on Srinagar National Highway! Complete denial of the Constitutional right to movement. This is what has been written in the destiny of Kashmiris by those who compromised the State institutions and strengthened the hands of enemies of the State!”

Former Army chief, General VP Malik, has described the ban as a “dumb idea” in his tweet wherein he said, “Ban on move of civ vehs on NH twice a week is a dumb idea 1. Goes against core object of winning hearts & minds. 2. Civil Adm must weigh pros & cons 3. Instead of strengthening local police & int, & improving move security, shows forces becoming over defensive”.

Reacting to General Malik’s remarks Omar Abdullah tweeted, “Kudos to Gen Malik Sahib for calling out the J&K highway closure order for what it is “a dumb idea”. Alas decisions in J&K today are being drive more by ego than by logic & it is vanity that is stopping this order from being withdrawn”.

Earlier in the morning, Omar Abdullah led a protest in Srinagar against the highway ban. Several NC leaders and activists accompanied him.

Governor Satya Pal Malik has asked the authorities to see that inconvenience was not caused to civilians during the highway ban.

The authorities in Srinagar have ordered that the lawyers would be free to move with their identity card, while in the case of medical emergencies, the prescription of the doctor would be deemed to be the permit for movement.