Srinagar, Feb 13: The government has failed to keep a check on the prices of various utility items at Gulmarg leading to fleecing of tourists and locals.
As the valley experienced heavy snowfall this winter season, thousands of tourists flocked to the famous ski resort.
However, eyewitnesses said that the shopkeepers and sledge owners have taken undue advantage of the huge tourism inflow by charging the exorbitant rates are being charged for sledge rides, skiing, rented snow boots and Jackets and iron chains tied in the wheels of cars to avoid slip on snow.
A local from Srinagar, Muneeb Ahmad, who recently went to Gulmarg in his own car, told The Kashmir Monitor that the chain owners at Tangmarg charged Rs 700 to Rs 800 for tying chains to his car wheels so that it can tread safely on road to Gulmarg.
He said that there was no one to keep a check on the rates.
“Moreover there is no fixed rate anywhere, be it sledge ride, skiing or mobile fruit vendors,” he said.
A newly-wed tourist couple said they was charged Rs. 500 for renting a pair of snow boots for one day.
“There should be a monitoring body who can keep a check over price hike. We wanted to complain but there is no one to whom I may be concerned,” the couple added.
Another local who had come to Gulmarg along with his family said that rates are skyrocketing here. “For the first hour of sledge ride I was charged Rs 400 and Rs 300 for every sub sequent hour,” he said.
“In 2018, stakeholders of tourism business, which even includes sledge-owners, drivers were fined Rs 10.11 lakh for violating the Tourist Trade Act for duping the tourists,” an official of the tourist department said.
“There is a sharp increase as compared to Rs 6.17 lakh penalty recovered by tourist police in 2017,” he said.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Superintendent Tourist Police, Amarjit Singh said that there have already deputed officials to keep check over prices.
“Tourists should contact me whenever they find any inconvenience and there is also our information centre in the main market Tangmarg where contact numbers are displayed and officials are also present,” he said.
Mirwaiz condemns assault on Kashmiris, terms it ‘unfortunate’
Srinagar, Feb 16: Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday strongly denounced the attack on Kashmiris in several parts of India.
In a statement issued, Mirwaiz said it is incumbent upon those ruling in these Indian states and the Governor in Jammu to control these elements and ensure the safety of Kashmiris wherever they are being attacked and harassed and their properties vandalized and burnt down.
“Kashmiris are thrashed, intimidated and properties of hundreds of Kashmiri students, laborers, businessmen are vandalized in various Indian states,” he said.
Mirwaiz said that fanatic elements have got a great excuse and are let loose, having a field day in executing their communal agenda by targeting Kashmiris.
Mirwaiz said reports of violence against Kashmiris simply studying or doing their work outside is very distressing. He said people of Kashmir are known for their all-out help and support to outsiders who visit us as tourists or Yatris whenever in need. But it is extremely unfortunate that they are being targeted and assaulted and the majority is silent over it.
Mirwaiz said it is also sad that members of civil society activists or even leadership of Jammu are not speaking out against the assault on Kashmiri’s there and playing its role in stopping it.
Meanwhile, Hurriyat spokesman strongly condemned the CASO in Pulwama, Kulgam and Tral areas of south Kashmir wherein dozens of youth after being harassed are detained while inmates kept out of their homes for hours together, household goods and vehicles vandalized stating that lacs of forces deployed across Kashmir have been enjoying complete impunity resulting in the immense problems being inflicting on the innocent Kashmiris.
The spokesman also condemned the arrest of senior Hurriyat leader Mukhtar Waza who has been lodged in police station Sherbagh, Islamabad.
Bar condemns assault on Kashmiris
Srinagar, Feb 16: J&K High Court Bar Association Srinagar (JKHBA) strongly condemned the harassing, beating, abusing and intimidating of Kashmiri Muslims in different parts of country.
Calling for an end to these atrocities, Bar has appealed the International Community including United Nations, Amnesty International, Asia Watch and other human rights organizations of the world as also members of Indian Civil Society to come to the rescue of the people of Kashmir and save them from the brutalities being inflicted on them by the ruthless communal and fanatic forces of Jammu and other places of India.
In an Executive Committee meeting held here today it was stated that Kashmiri Muslims living in Jammu and the Muslims of Jammu are so frightened that they stayed back in their homes on Friday and did not offer Friday prayers to avoid being targeted.
“At several places, the Govt. owned residential quarters in which Kashmiri Govt. employees are putting up were stoned by these hoodlums belonging to RSS and other Hindu fanatic groups and the police did not stop them from doing so and watched the same as silent spectators, which is highly deplorable,” they said.
Bar further said that in Bihar, Dehradun, Chandigarh, Aligarh and other parts of India, Kashmiri students have been beaten to pulp and asked to leave those places forthwith, which is barbaric and shameful.
The Bar members took out a procession from District Court Complex, Moominabad Batamaloo, Srinagar, in which hundreds of lawyers participated and while raising slogans against all the communal and fanatic forces, asked he authorities to give protection to Kashmiri Muslims, who are presently in Jammu or in any other part of India and ensure their safety and security at all costs, as otherwise, if the harassing, abusing beating and teasing of Kashmiri and Jammu Muslims is not stopped forthwith, it will have serious repercussions.
In order to show solidarity with their Kashmiri brethren, the Bar Association also decided to support the call given by Kashmir Traders Federation for 17th of February, 2019.
Lethpora attack aftermath: Youth who rescued 21 soldiers in 2014 floods among 8 arrested in Pulwama
Pulwama, Feb 16: A day after the audacious attack on a CRPF convoy, government forces conducted nocturnal raids and arrested over 8 youth.
Reports said that the raids were conducted in different parts of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district including Lelhar, Hatiwara Letapora, Ratnipora and Lelhar.
Police sources said that over 8 youth were arrested. All these people are considered as the militant ‘sympathizers’, said a source.
Interestingly, one of the arrested youth Asif Muzafar Shah of Samboora had played a key role in rescuing a coloumn of armymen in 2014 devastating floods. The services of Shah were hailed by army then when he rescued 21 soldiers during devastating floods.
Sources added that government forces also picked up father-son duo from Hatiwara Letpora village. A top Jaish-e-Muhammad militant Mufti Waqas was killed in a house at Hatiwara last year. The owner of the house and his son were arrested during the nocturnal raid, said locals.
Government Forces have also made arrests from Tral and other areas after the Lethpora attack that claimed the lives of 49 troopers.
A police official feigned ignorance about these arrests.
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