A day after 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack on a convoy in Pulwama, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said Friday in Jammu and Kashmir that civilian traffic will be restricted on highways and major roads in the state during the movement of Army and security forces convoys.
“Civilian traffic movement will be restricted for some time during movement of Army and security forces convoys. This may cause inconvenience and I apologise for this but this is necessary for the safety of jawans,” he said after a high-level security review meeting in Srinagar.
The decision is reminiscent of the late- 1990s and early-2000s when civilian vehicles were not allowed to ply alongside Army convoys. Vehicles could not overtake military vehicles and had to travel behind the convoy along the route. This rule was relatively relaxed in the last decade when civilian vehicles were allowed to pass through security forces’ convoys.
Singh also directed officials to take all possible measures to enhance IED detection capabilities and undertake additional measures to restrict civilian traffic during troop movement.
“Some elements in Jammu and Kashmir have links with the ISI and terrorist organisations. We will win a decisive war against terrorism,” he said and instructed the state government to ensure communal harmony.
Earlier, the Home Minister helped carry the coffin of a CRPF personnel killed in the attack to a special aircraft to fly the body home. On arriving in Srinagar, Singh drove straight to the adjacent CRPF campus where a wreath-laying ceremony was held for the personnel killed.
Singh, Governor Satya Pal Malik, Union Home Secretary Rajiv Gauba, CRPF Director General R R Bhatnagar, Jammu and Kashmir DGP Dilbagh Singh, among other officials, attended the wreath-laying ceremony.
The dignitaries stood in silence until the coffins were loaded on a truck which went to the Srinagar airport, an official said. “The nation will not forget the supreme sacrifice of our brave CRPF jawans. I have paid my last respects to the martyrs of Pulwama. The sacrifice will not go in vain,” Singh said.
Underscoring that the morale of the security forces in the state was high, he said, “We will be successful in the decisive battle against terrorism that we are fighting and the whole country stands by us in the battle.”
Without naming any individuals or organisations, the Home Minister said, “I have told officials here, that those those who are taking money from Pakistan, their security should be reviewed.” He said that not just India, but “Islamic counties are standing together to fight terrorism.”
Responding to reports of violence in Jammu, Singh said, “The administration has been told that if someone tries to disrupt communal harmony, they should be dealt with strictly.”
Saluting the personnel for their sacrifice and valour, the Home Minister said, “The Government of India as well as the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, stands firmly by the side of the families of the deceased soldiers. I have requested all states to provide the maximum help to the families of the martyred soldiers.”