SRINAGAR: A senior Jammu and Kashmir government officer has alleged that he was held up for hours in an ambulance with his father’s body on the Srinagar-Jammu national highway because of traffic restrictions for the Amarnath Yatra on Thursday.
Imtiyaz Wani, Director Finance in Jammu and Kashmir government, said that he was taking his father’s body to his home in Srinagar from Jammu when the ambulance was forced to stop until the convoys carrying Amarnath pilgrims completed their movement on the highway. The police claimed it is a “misrepresentation of facts”.
The administration has placed a daily five-hour restriction on locals travelling on the arterial highway between Jammu and Srinagar, for 46 days till August 15 when the pilgrimage ends.
Mr Wani took to social media to complain. “All civil rights are subordinate to Amarnath Yatra while moving from Jammu to Srinagar. I am not being allowed to carry forward my father’s dead body. What hell the life of a common Kashmiri is. Inspector Rakesh of J&K Police on yatra duty categorically said the body shall not be allowed,” he wrote on Facebook.
Mr Wani’s father died in Delhi.
The police said the ambulance was stopped as it tried to overtake the convoy.
“The ambulance was trying to overtake the Yatra convoy which was not allowed by the convoy commander. The person in ambulance claimed that the vehicle is carrying dead body of his father but the (security) officer could not verify the facts in the moving convoy. Thus, the vehicle was not allowed to overtake it,” a police spokesperson said.
He added that the ambulance was allowed to proceed after the officer “ascertained facts”.
Over two lakh pilgrims have performed the Amarnath Yatra since the annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine started on July 1. Officials say this is the highest number to visit the Himalayan cave shrine during the first forthright in the last four years.
This yatra will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.