Srinagar: The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has ordered a probe into the death of a cancer patient after his ambulance was stopped multiple times because of the convoy movement last week.

This is the first casualty due to the biweekly ban on civilian traffic on the 270-km Baramulla-Srinagar-Udhampur highway imposed on April 3.

Reports say the driver of the ambulance carrying the patient to Doda after his discharge from a Srinagar hospital was stopped around 50 times on April 10, including a 30-minute halt at Lower Munda.

Now the CRPF has ordered a high-level probe while assuring people that such emergency services like ambulances will be allowed to bypass the highway lockdown.

On April 10, cancer survivor Abdul Qayoom Banday was on his way home but it being a Wednesday, the highway was cordoned off for civilians and the ambulance was stopped by security forces. The delay may have led to Banday’s death.

Expressing it condolences, the CRPF said, “CRPF is deeply anguished at the sad demise of Abdul Qayoom Banday of Doda who was suffering from a terminal illness, whose ambulance, while travelling from Srinagar to Doda, was asked to halt near Lower Munda on April 10 because of the restrictions placed on civilian traffic movement.”

It added, “We express sincere condolences and sympathise with the Banday family for their loss. We would like to assure the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir that strict instructions are in place to enable speedy passage to ambulances and ailing civilians. A high-level inquiry has been ordered into the incident.”

On April 3, the state government had issued an order banning civilian traffic on the national highway between Baramulla and Udhampur twice a week — Sundays and Wednesdays — and reserved the two days for movement of security forces’ convoys.

However, the order stated that in the event of any requirement for local traffic movement for any emergency, the local administration and police would evolve necessary procedures for this as is done during curfew days.