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No setback, tourists pour into Valley

Tourism industry determined not to let anyone use tragedy for political gains

india Updated: Jun 28, 2012 01:27 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times

Tourists are pouring into Kashmir Valley unhindered despite tension over the fire which destroyed the 206-year-old Peer Dastageer Sahib shrine at Khanyar in Srinagar's old city on Monday.

"There has been some inconvenience to people intending to visit the old city, but as such there have been no cancellations. The tourists are coming as usual," Azim Tuman, president of the houseboat owners' association, said on Wednesday.

Showkat Chaudhary, president of Kashmir Hoteliers and Restaurants Association, said, "The gutting of the shrine is a huge tragedy. We are mourning its loss and our visitors are very much aware of this. But we don't want anyone to hijack this tragedy for political motives and escalate the situation."

The number of tourists to the Valley is expected to cross 2 mn this year, surpassing the record 1.3 mn footfalls seen last year.

Meanwhile, the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to look into all aspects including sabotage to ascertain the cause of the fire that gutted the shrine of 11th century preacher Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jeelani.

"We will look into every aspect… Let the inquiry committee complete its investigation. People need to be patient," said state home minister Nasir Aslam Wani.

The mystery around the fire deepened after the shrine's caretaker Syed Khalid Jeelani claimed that short circuit, as initially suspected, could not have led to the fire. He said the spot where fire broke out at 6.15am had no power supply then.

First Published: Jun 27, 2012 23:46 IST