Tourists fight back in J&K
One look at the tourists milling about on the Boulevard, Nehru Park or the Dal Lake shikara and you wouldn?t think they are in Kashmir, which has seen back-to-back attacks on tourists.Updated: Jun 02, 2006 05:04 IST
One look at the tourists milling about on the Boulevard, Nehru Park or the Dal Lake shikara and you wouldn’t think they are in Kashmir, which has seen back-to-back attacks on tourists.
There has probably not been a rush for bookings after the attacks — first on May 26 and then on Wednesday — but the tourists who are already in the Valley aren’t packing their bags and leaving.
Officials in the tourism department said the visitors’ rush was normal and tourists in the valley weren’t leaving in panic. “Such unfortunate incidents can influence the tourism industry. But the widespread condemnation of the attacks has encouraged tourists to stay back,” said tourism department director Farooq Ahmad Shah.
Ajay Dass, a tourist from Assam, said he had been in the valley with his four friends for the last five days. “We are staying in a houseboat. It is lovely. We visited Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg,” he said.
Aren’t they terror hubs? Dass didn’t seem to care — or probably didn’t know. He said he was too busy holidaying and hadn't heard of the attack on tourists. So there.
Neither did Kanta Devi from Mumbai. “I got a telephone call from my relatives in Mumbai about the attack. But I see nothing wrong here,” she said.
But in Kolkata, travel agents said the attack on tourists from the state have frightened people into cancelling visits to Jammu and Kashmir.
“We are refunding customers who had booked trips to Kashmir. We cannot afford to take risks with the security of tourists,” said Asit Bardhan, proprietor of Apex Tours and Travels.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday said the attacks were a conspiracy against the state’s tourism industry. KCCI president Rouf Ahmad Punjabi said the attacks would break the state’s economy and appealed to Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to ensure that the culprits are brought to book.
First Published: Jun 02, 2006 05:04 IST