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NARBAL INCIDENT: Unnerved tourists start cancelling bookings

May 9, 2018
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Srinagar: President of Trade and Travel Association Kashmir Ashfaq Sidiq along with other tourism players addressing a press conference regarding the killing of a tourist,who was killed in a stone pelting attack on their bus,in Srinagar on Tuesday. PTI Photo by Umar Ganie

Srinagar, May 08: Many aspiring visitors have started cancelling their travel plans to Kashmir in wake of a tourist’s death during a stone pelting incident on Monday.

Several travel agents’ associations of Kashmir Tuesday said the death of the Chennai tourist due to stone pelting in Narbal on Srinagar-Gulmarg road has unnerved potential tourists and resulted in the cancelation of bookings.

“Cancellations have happened (in the wake of the incident), however, we do receive many fresh bookings and enquiries as well,” Ashfaq Siddiq, president Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK) who spoke on behalf of all travel agents during a presser on Tuesday said.

On Monday, R. Thirumani Selvan, a young male tourist from Chennai who was visiting Kashmir with his father and other tourists, was grievously hurt in a stone pelting incident in Narbal, Budgam.

He was rushed to SK Institute of Medical Sciences here but eventually succumbed to his injuries.

“The killing of the tourist could be the proverbial final nail in the coffin of tourism in Kashmir,” news agency Press Trust of India quoted Ashfaq as having said.

“This is a sad incident which should not have happened. Unfortunately, we feel that it will have an impact on tourist arrivals to Kashmir. I think it will be the final nail in the coffin,” the PTI report quoted him saying.

Condemning the killing, Siddiq, during the presser, said those who committed the crime are not well-wishers of Kashmiris.

“Innocent killing can’t be justified be it a Kashmiri or a non-local. Whosoever has committed the crime is a cold-blooded murderer. We condemn it in every possible manner and as a Kashmiri we shall apologise for it,”

He, however, said that it still needs to be established whether it was an accidental death or a case of stone pelting.

“We haven’t got any factual details about the incident yet. It needs to be seen whether the particular vehicle was at a wrong place at wrong time,” Siddiq said.

He said the continuing uncertainty coupled with civilian killings had deteriorated the situation in Kashmir, thereby leading to business losses.

“We have seen that lot of innocent civilians have been killed as no SOPs are followed by the forces,” president TAAK said.

He smelled it a “conspiracy” by “agencies” to bring down the economy of Kashmir.

“We don’t know who these agencies are behind to create such situation in Kashmir? We believe that there was a certain game plan on Kashmir by agencies especially to affect its economy. Every sector at receiving end and tourism become first causality here,”Siddiq said.

He added that Kashmir irrespective of other conflict zones has been portrayed negatively across the world.

“Kashmir has become a playfield of every party to score brownie points,” he said.

He said that it was high time for India and Pakistan to solve the problem by initiating the tripartite dialogue.

“All these three parties have to come on the negotiation table and do some negotiations. The sentiment of Kashmir is the basic criteria, which needed to be addressed,” he said.



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Avatar of Firdous Hassan

Firdous Hassan

Self-help believer, a gadget lover and nature's admirer.
Presently Senior reporter at The Kashmir Monitor with an experience of nine years in reporting business, crime, defense, politics and environment.Have also contributed to reputed media organizations including First Post, India Spend, Forbes India

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