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Kashmir will again be ‘paradise on earth’: Guv on R-Day

Jammu, Jan 26: Kashmir valley would once again become “the paradise on earth” as was once described by Mughal Emperor Jahangir, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said Saturday.

“I have no doubt that a day will come once again when Kashmir will be the same as what Emperor Jahangir had praised – a paradise on earth,” said the Governor during the State level function on the occasion of the 70th Republic Day, at the Sports Stadium of the University of Jammu.


Emperor Jehangir had once said about Kashmir, “Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o, hameen ast-o, hameen ast! (If there is a paradise on earth; it is this, it is this, it is this).”

And to restore the lost glory of the valley, Malik pinned his hopes on the support and contribution of people from all walks of life in making the state prosperous.

While seeking the people’s support in turning the state’s fortune, Malik promised that his administration would continue to work on its “mission good governance” and “mission delivering development” till the state gets back a democratically-elected government.

“I appeal to the members of civil society, political parties, and leaders of all social, cultural, religious and other organisations in the state to come forward and lend their hands in building a prosperous Jammu and Kashmir which will be a role model for other states,” the Governor said.

Listing various steps taken by his administration to ensure “good governance”, the governor said tourism is an important part of overall development and employment strategy and the government is committed to “unlock” the vast potential of the sector.

“We have launched a sustained campaign to address the challenges posed to the sector by the negative perception of the situation in the valley.

“Our efforts have begun to pay dividends, which is evident from the fact that hotels in Pahalgam and Gulmarg (hill resorts in the valley) have been registering almost 100 percent occupancy for the past couple of months,” he said.

He said the state tourism department is making concerted efforts to attract pilgrims and tourists to the state.

To promote tourism in the Ladakh region, the Centre has approved the proposal of the state to open up more tourist and trekking routes.
“An additional investment of Rs 2,000 crore has been approved by the Centre for development of new tourism infrastructure projects in the state under PMDP.

The investment will increase the tourist flow to the state by way of providing them better amenities and accommodation across the state,” he said.

The Governor expressed gratitude to the military and state police for working for “maintaining peace, unity and integrity in the state”.

“Repeated ceasefire violations have brought untold hardships to the people living in the villages along the borders,” he said.

“The government is taking required measures to alleviate their sufferings as notwithstanding the tough terrain, climate and other challenges, our security forces continue to maintain strict vigil and alertness on our frontiers. We salute the brave Army and police personnel who have made supreme sacrifices for maintaining peace and tranquillity in the state. The nation remains indebted (to them).” the Governor said.

“It is a matter of deep anguish that a number of our youth, some of whom were pursuing professional studies, were influenced by ‘extremist’ ideologies to pick up the gun and join groups which perpetrate violence,” the Governor said.

“This has added to the difficulties and sufferings of the people particularly in the (Kashmir) Valley. It is our sanguine belief that violence and a confrontationist approach is no antidote to addressing any issue.

“A number of precious and innocent lives have been lost due to mindless and dastardly violence,” Malik said even as two Jaish-e-Mohammad militants were killed in the outskirts of Srinagar city minutes before the celebrations kicked off.

Two AK-47 rifles and ammunition were recovered from their possession after both were killed in Khonmoh area. The police sources said they had planned to disrupt the Republic Day functions here.

Malik took salute at a parade in which smartly turned out contingents of armed forces, police and school children took part.
Amid heightened security, the main parade in the Kashmir Valley was held at the Sher-e-Kashmir cricket Stadium in the city.

Members of Kashmir Press Club protested after some journalists were denied entry into the stadium. All roads leading to the stadium in Srinagar were sealed by the government forces.

As a precaution, mobile Internet services were suspended by the authorities in the Kashmir Valley till the Republic Day functions ended.

Joint Hurriyat had called for a shutdown in the Valley on Saturday and appealed people to observe it as a ‘black day’ to attract international attention towards the Kashmir dispute.