Podcast; Voices from the lockdown: Over two months on, public transport remains off roads; people still lack access to vital services

  • t has been more than two months since the Government of India repealed Jammu and Kashmir's special status but Kashmir is yet to see a day in these 79 days which signals that the Valley is returning to normalcy.

  • One of the biggest reasons that normalcy still evades Kashmir is because public transportation remains completely off the roads

  • People from the border villages are cut off as even the few cabs which operated, have gone off roads

It has been more than two months since the Government of India repealed Jammu and Kashmir's special status on 5 August and a week has passed since postpaid mobile services were restored in the state. But Kashmir is yet to see a day in these 79 days which signals that the Valley is returning to normalcy.

Despite government efforts to exhort people to defy terrorist threats for defying a lockdown, the roads have remained empty, and markets shut in a major part of the Kashmir Valley.

One of the biggest reasons that normalcy still evades Kashmir is because public transportation remains completely off the roads. People from the border villages are cut off as even the few cabs which operated, have gone off roads. The fact that transporters who tried to resume at least freight traffic became victims of terrorist attacks haven't boosted confidence in people.

In this month alone, there have been at least three such attacks (all targetting non-locals), in which one person was critically injured while two others were dead.

Therefore, the residents of the Kashmir Valley, whether normal citizens or bus owners and operators, share the same apprehensions in returning on the roads.

Meanwhile, the unavailability of buses have also affected people's access to healthcare.

In today's episode, we speak to Javid Ahmad and Mansoor Peer, both journalists from Kashmir, to understand how the lack of public transportation is affecting life in the Valley. Included are edited excerpts of our conversation with bus operators, who say the fear of their lives is more compulsive factor than the heavy losses they suffer by keeping off the roads.

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Updated Date: Oct 22, 2019 10:04:34 IST