Srinagar: When horrific rapes are becoming endemic to tourist places, Kashmir continues to be the safest place for foreigners.
Data compiled by the Nation Crime Record Bureau (NCRB) reveals that only one case of crime against foreigners was recorded in 2019 while no such cases emerged in the union territory for 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Himachal Pradesh, where the tourist rush has been increasing due to uncertainty in Kashmir, recorded 18 such cases in the last three years. In 2019 six cases of crime against foreigners were recorded by NCRB in the neighboring state.
In India, 409 cases of crime against foreigners have been recorded by the NCRB. Maharashtra tops the list with 48 cases of crime against foreigners followed by Karnataka with 46 such incidents.
Kashmir witnessed a lockdown of more than a year after the abrogation of article 370 and the spread of COVID-19 in 2020.
Ahead of the abrogation of article 370, the then governor administration claimed that Amarnath pilgrims were facing militant threats.
All the non-locals including foreign tourists were evacuated, which dented the tourism industry. With a result, the tourist industry suffered Rs 1100 crore loss.
Amid lockdown, no cases of violence have been recorded against the counted tourists who visited after the abrogation of article 370.
However, during the same period as many as nine cases of crime by foreigners have been recorded in Jammu and Kashmir by the NCRB.
In 2018 and 2017, the NCRB had recorded 10 and three cases of crime by foreigners respectively in Jammu and Kashmir.
Out of the nine cases recorded last year, the NCRB data said that eight were registered under the Foreigner Act, 1946 & Registration of Foreigners Act.
Despite being one of the safest places for foreigners, many countries have issued a travel advisory for its nationals against visiting Kashmir.
Last year the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia issued travel advisories to its citizens over uncertainty in Kashmir.
Travel agents, who have had no business for over a year now, blamed the media for presenting Kashmir in a poor light.
“We have zero percent crime rate against foreigners. We take good care of our guests It is basically the national media which plays a spoilsport and presents Kashmir in a very negative way,” said president Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) Farooq Ahmad Kuthoo.