Situation in Kashmir Valley under control: government official

Kashmir saw a record 10 lakh tourists this year; hotels, flights booked for the next 3 months

Kashmir saw a record 10 lakh tourists this year; hotels, flights booked for the next 3 months

Dismissing that the security situation is deteriorating in the Kashmir Valley, a senior government official said on Friday that the newly created Union Territory had seen the arrival of a record 10 lakh tourists this year and hotels and flights had been booked for the next three months.

The official said about 5,500 Kashmiri Pandits employed under the prime minister’s special rehabilitation program in 2015 were assigned to secure locations at the district headquarters. Similar arrangements will be made for 10,000 non-Muslim government employees in the valley. Employees have demanded relocation to Jammu following the targeted killing of Kashmiri Pandits and Hindus in recent months.

The official said an online portal launched in September 2021 to respond to Kashmiri migrants’ grievances over real estate and community property has so far received 8,000 complaints and 6,500 complaints have been resolved. “About 2,500 kanals of land (about 312 acres) have been returned to Kashmiri Pandits. The complaints related to fraudulent dealings, land encroachment and distress selling,” the official said.

The official asserted that the administration cannot encourage the migration of Pandits to Jammu as it will be a repeat of the situation of 1990s and the government cannot be part of the exodus of an entire community. “Such requests for relocation are counterproductive. Such murders also took place in October 2021, but we were able to control them. We will also take care of the situation now,” the official said. People living in transit accommodation in the valley have been locked down by the administration to prevent them from leaving.

The official pointed out that 2021 was the only year that no protests or bandhs took place in the valley.

“Section 370 was removed in 2019, after 2020 was the year when COVID-19 cases were high. 2021 was the year when everything opened up and there was economic activity, educational and other normals. Not a single protest has taken place. This year, after the sentencing of Yasin Malik, a small protest was held near his house in Mehsuma. If they are unable to create open conflicts, they then resort to eliminating soft targets,” the official said.

The official denied that the attacks were part of a “religious war”, adding that they were to support a “conflict-driven industry”. “A vulnerable part of the population is recruited cheaply to carry out these attacks,” he added.

film festival

Another official said that for the first time in 35 years, a film festival was held in Srinagar from June 15-20. “The film festival will be open to everyone and will see films made or shot in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

The Amarnath Yatra, which is being held after a two-year hiatus, has so far seen the registration of 2.5 lakh pilgrims. J&K administration and police have been asked to prepare around 8 lakh pilgrims for the yatra at the holy shrine in South Kashmir which starts on June 30 and ends on August 11.

“A so-called terrorist organization – the Resistance Front (TRF) – made threats against the yatra but we took adequate action,” he said.

The official added that May alone saw the arrival of 3.75 lakh tourists, the highest ever recorded in a single month.

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