April 2018 News

Attacks On Tourists Create Panic In Kashmir

2 April 2018
Times of India
M Saleem Pandit

Srinagar: A day after violent protests erupted against massive security clampdown in J&K, Srinagar city was on the edge on Monday. At least 21 youths were injured in fresh violence in four districts of South and Central Kashmir amid a call for shutdown by separatists. Authorities imposed a curfew in South Kashmir and suspended internet services as incidents of stone-pelting were reported from Central Kashmir. Frenzied mobs attacked tourists and threw stones at their vehicles at several places, creating panic among stakeholders in hospitality industry ahead of the tourist season, late on Sunday evening. In a major setback to the tourism sector in Jammu and Kashmir, several hotels, including five-stars, received a large number of cancellation calls from travel agents in Delhi, Mumbai and other cities. According to sources, panic-stricken tourists rushed to Srinagar airport early on Monday morning. 'A large number of tourists left Srinagar early on Monday morning. Many of them reached Srinagar International Airport early in order to escape attacks by stone-pelters,' official sources said. Late on Sunday night, two buses carrying a group of tourists from Indonesia were attacked with stones near Dal Lake. However, prompt actions by Shikara owners in the Dal Lake saved tourists from the mob fury, official sources said on Monday. In a separate incident, two women tourists from Abu Dhabi suffered head injuries after being hit by stones thrown at the cab they were travelling in outside Srinagar airport on Sunday night. They were treated at a Srinagar hospital. In another incident, stone-pelters attacked a tourist bus at Awantipora in South Kashmir's Pulwama district, injuring two women from Uttar Pradesh. The attack took place when more than 100 men pelted stones at the vehicle, taking tourists on a city tour, on the Jammu-Srinagar national highway around 9pm on Sunday. The two injured were taken to Sri Maharaja Hari Singh hospital. 'The two injured women were discharged after being given first-aid. Their vehicle was damaged,' a senior government official said on Monday. Complete shutdown was observed in the valley on Monday due to a shutdown call by Joint Resistance Leadership, comprising Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar and Yasin Malik. Shops, business establishments, educational institutions remained closed. Education minister Altaf Bukhari said on Monday that educational institutions would remain closed for the next two days. On March 27, Jammu and Kashmir tourism minister Tassaduq Hussain Mufti had said the government would take all possible steps to ensure a steady flow of tourists in the state.