December 2016 News

Kashmir Safest Place For Tourists: J&K CM

10 December 2016
The New Indian Express
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: After separatists, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said Kashmir was the safest place for travelers than any other place in the country and appealed the tourists from the country and abroad to visit the Valley and enjoy the hospitality of Kashmiri people. 'I, on behalf of people of Kashmir, invite the people of the country and abroad to visit Kashmir and enjoy our hospitality and natural beauty of Valley,' Mehbooba told reporters after inaugurating water sports festival. Maintaining that Kashmir will have snow soon, she said, 'Kashmir is calling you. We will offer exciting packages to the tourists. We will organize a snow festival at the ski resort of Gulmarg in January. I request the people of the country to visit Kashmir along with their children'. Asked whether Kashmir was safe for tourists, the CM said, 'Kashmir is the safest place for tourists than any other place in our country. The tourists can move around here without any fear even during nights and nothing untoward will happen'. Asserting that Kashmir is the safest place for women, she said, 'Kashmir is the safest place for women. Here women and girls can come and enjoy Kashmir's natural beauty. We will take care of them and they will have no problems during their stay here'. 'When I see shikara walas, I remember how many tourists were visiting Kashmir before the unrest. I am hopeful that tourists would visit again Kashmir,' Mehboobasaid adding her government is contemplating many initiatives to attract more tourists to the State. Mehbooba's appeal to tourists comes four days after separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, who are spearheading the five-month-long agitation in the Valley, appealed tourists and yatris to visit Kashmir and enjoy the hospitality of Kashmiri people and the beauty of 'paradise on earth'. 'Kashmiris have been safeguarding and providing exemplary hospitality and safety to tourists and Yatris from around the world, including India, for centuries as we have been taught hospitality, humanity and safeguarding the rights of guests by our great religion. Tourists and Yartris from the world including India, who intend to visit Kashmir are most welcome,' the separatists said in a joint statement issued on December 6. Kashmir has been witnessing unrest since July 9, a day after killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir. At least 94 people have been killed, more than 13000 injured and over 8000 arrested during the five-month unrest in the Valley. Due to the five-month-long unrest, the tourism sector has been worst hit. Almost all the hotels, guest houses and house boats are empty.