Situation in Kashmir Valley under control: Government official

Kashmir has seen a record of 10 lakh tourists this year; hotels, flights booked for next 3 months

June 03, 2022 10:40 pm | Updated June 04, 2022 07:22 am IST - New Delhi:

Security personnel cordon off an area after a bank manager from Rajasthan was shot dead by a militants in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on June 2, 2022.

Security personnel cordon off an area after a bank manager from Rajasthan was shot dead by a militants in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on June 2, 2022. | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

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

The official said that around 5,500 Kashmiri Pandits employed under the Prime Minister’s special rehabilitation package in 2015 have been posted to secure locations at district headquarters. Similar arrangement will be made for 10,000 non-Muslim government employees in the Valley. The employees have been demanding relocation to Jammu in wake of the targeted killing of Kashmir Pandits and Hindus in the past few months.

The official said that an online portal started in September 2021 to address the grievances of Kashmiri migrants related to immovable properties and community assets had received 8,000 complaints so far and 6,500 complaints have been resolved. “Around 2500 kanals of land (around 312 acre) has been restored to Kashmiri Pandits. The complaints included fraudulent transactions, encroachment of land and distress sale,” the official said.

The official asserted that the administration cannot be encouraging the migration of Pandits to Jammu as it will be a repeat of the situation in 1990s and government cannot be a part of the exodus of an entire community. “Such demands of relocation are counter-productive. Such killings happened in October 2021 as well but we were able to control it. We will take care of the situation now as well,” the official said. Those living in transit accommodations in the Valley have been locked up by the administration to stop them from leaving.

The official pointed out that 2021 was the only year when no protest or bandh took place in the Valley.

“Article 370 was removed in 2019, after that 2020 was the year when COVID-19 cases were high. 2021 was the year when everything opened and there was normal economic, educational and other activities. Not one protest took place. This year after Yasin Malik was convicted, there was a minor protest near his house in Mehsuma. If they are unable to create open conflicts then they resort to killing soft targets,” said the official.

The official denied that the attacks were part of any “religious war” adding that it was to sustain a “conflict driven industry.” “Vulnerable section of people is being recruited at low cost to carry out these attacks,” he added.

Film festival

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

The Amarnath Yatra, which is being organised after a gap of two years, has seen registration of 2.5 lakh pilgrims so far. The J&K administration and police have been asked to brace for around 8 lakh pilgrims for the yatra to the holy shrine in south Kashmir that commences on June 30 and concludes on August 11.

“A so-called terror outfit – The Resistance Front (TRF) – has issued threats against the yatra but we have made adequate arrangements,” he said.

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

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