A senior officer of the J&K government, who was travelling in an ambulance from Jammu to Srinagar with his father’s body, has alleged that he was stopped by the police on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway and asked to wait for the Amarnath Yatra vehicles to pass.
While the J&K government has restricted the movement of civilian traffic for five hours everyday on a stretch of the highway, the incident reportedly took place six hours before the curbs kicked in and on a stretch that doesn’t come under the restrictions, the officer has claimed.
“I left Jammu around 3 in the night. We were first stopped near Sidra bypass. When I told them I have my father’s body in ambulance, they allowed us to move forward without any problem,” Director (Finance) Imtiyaz Ahmad Wani told The Indian Express. “When we reached Nagrota, we were stopped again. I told them that we have a body in the ambulance but the officer didn’t listen. He told me ‘keep the body on the side, we have to let the yatra (vehicles) pass’. He didn’t allow us to move forward.”
However, the police have claimed that the facts are being misrepresented. “The fact is at Tikri, at about 0557 hrs, one UP number ambulance was trying to enter the convoy which was not allowed by the convoy commander. The person in the ambulance claimed that the vehicle is carrying the body of his father but the officer could not verify the facts… and thus the vehicle followed the (yatra) convoy and was not allowed to overtake it. Once the convoy stopped and the officer ascertained the facts, the ambulance was allowed to proceed ahead. This is total misrepresentation of facts,” a police spokesman said.
Wani said that they were stopped for an hour at Nagrota. “Then the police officer asked us to follow him. Suddenly, a yatri bus broke down and the attention of police was diverted towards the bus,” he said. “It was then that I asked the driver to speed away.”
Wani said that they were stopped at several places between Nagrota and Ramban and weren’t allowed to move ahead.
In a Facebook post that was widely circulated, Wani wrote, “All the civilian rights are subordinate to Amarnath Yatra. While moving from Jammu to Srinagar, I am not being allowed to carry forward the dead body of my father. What a hell life of a common Kashmiri in J&K is…”
Sanjeev Verma, Divisional Commissioner (Jammu), told The Indian Express that he was not aware of the incident.
Jammu SSP (Traffic) Joginder singh said that no ambulance was stopped in his area of jurisdiction. “We didn’t stop any ambulance till Nagrota,” Singh said. “What happened after that I have no idea.”
Wani’s father, a cancer patient, died on Wednesday afternoon at a Delhi hospital.
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