Srinagar, July 11: With Amarnath Yatra going on in full swing and movement of security forces, both having become the first priority for administration, the convenience of common people has been reduced to nil.
In the presence of tough security measures placed on ground, valley over people are confined to their homes, where critically, even terminally ill patients have to wait for hours to be cleared, the medical term “Golden Hour” has lost its worth, in the context of Emergency Response Services (ERS).
Videos of ambulances carrying critically ill patients, being stopped by the forces to facilitate passage to convoys of Yatris and security forces, which surfaced on social media, have put a question mark on the security system, adopted by the state. These suggest that the administration has put the normal life of civilians on the back burner and set completion of incident free Yatra and movement of security forces, as their only priority, leaving no space for a middle ground. In the given situation, people prefer to stay home, rather than venturing out on roads, except in emergencies.
Another incident, which hit the headlines recently, after its video went viral, is that of a heated altercation between the students of Islamic University and security forces, when they objected to bag search of female students by male personnel.
Almost every day such incidents come to fore, when frustrated commuters enter into argument with forces personnel on duty, even the parties get physical with each other at times. Many incidents of civilians being thrashed by forces have also been witnessed in past and thankfully no untoward situation did erupt as a result thereof, but the situation may at any moment turn out to be ugly.
In a situation like this, need of the hour is that proper steps are taken and an effective system planned and then put in place, which will address the difficulties and pressures faced by all sides, and is applicable in the long run, given the fact that Yatra is not a one time affair.
“People in large are not averse to centuries old pilgrimage, with a history of hosting it, but at present it seems that this pious religious event has turned into an invasion, while those who host it as enemies”, said Abdul Gani, a resident of Islamabad.
“I have never seen such situation in my lifetime during Yatra, not even in nineties, when militancy was at peak. Security is alright, but not at the cost of putting local population in trouble. It is the incompetence of those, who are responsible to ensure the safety of Yatra, for which the buck is passed onto the shoulders of common people and are made to suffer”, Abdul Gani said.
Governor Satya Pal Malik in a recent interview, while praising the hospitality of locals, which they have been extending to Yatris for centuries, has denied all such complaints and has asked public to cooperate, but he is also duty bound to make the life of common people comfortable. Therefore the need is to put the heads together and formulate a traffic plan which, while ensuring the security of Yatris, safe movement of forces, would also address the problems faced by civilians due to traffic mess.