Doc Omar
A young doctor from Kashmir decided to cycle 65 kilometres stretch to reach his hospital in order to protest J&K Highway banTwitter

On Sunday, when the ban on civilian vehicular movement on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was implemented for the first time, a urologist preferred to cycle his way to work to defy the government order.

Dr Umar is posted in J&K's Sopore district, which is 65km away from his residence in Srinagar. He ditched the ambulance services which were provided to medical and para-medical staff on Sunday.

I wanted to use the cycle so that I can feel the pain of the people, what they are going through due to this order. I will not get into arguments with anyone if I am stopped and will change my route," Omar told PTI.

He added that the roads are the lifeline of any place and shutting them down for civilian movement is shutting down that particular region.

On the day of the implementation of the government directive, routine life came to a halt in Srinagar and adjoining places as many patients couldn't travel to hospitals. Tourists were also stuck in Srinagar and could not move due to the ban. The District Magistrate, Anantnag, also issued a special order to allow a marriage party to visit his bride's home in Doda district. 

The J&K government had recently issued a directive prohibiting civilian vehicular movement for two days every week on the nearly 280km-long Jammu-Srinagar National Highway for smooth movement and security of para-military troopers who travel on those designated days. The ban will remain in place till May 31. The order came after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh announced a string of measures to ensure security to the CRPF and armed forces personnel in the wake of Pulwama terror attack.

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However, the order has met with a lot of resistance from the masses and political leadership in the valley who described it as a violation of the basic human rights.

Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti defied the government order and took her vehicle on the highway in Srinagar along with the party members of Peoples Democratic Party. She said that such orders will further distance people of Kashmir from the rest of the country and cannot be effective.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned the logic behind banning the vehicular movement.