Whenever the situation in Kashmir seems to have calmed down reasonably, a sudden incident wakes everyone out from this false sense of relief. This year has been no different. In Sep 2014, after facing the worst floods in the last one century, the loss to infrastructure made it amply clear that the tourist inflow this season would be less compared to the previous years. Even though most hotel owners revamped their properties during this time, the tourist influx is still not encouraging. More than the Sep floods, perhaps what has hit the tourist inflow so far is the irresponsible and careless reporting by media outlets in India about the weather conditions and the impending floods in April 2015. That really scared away many people from visiting the valley, given the horrors of the previous floods were still fresh in their memory. There were heavy rains in Kashmir at the end of March, but media reports made it look worse than it actually was. Many pictures from the Sep floods were uploaded along with the news reports about heavy rains in Kashmir. This was not only irresponsible, but probably dishonest journalism as well. Kashmir tourism and people related to the business have suffered because of this misreporting.
As if this was not bad enough, news came in earlier this week about an armed attack on a BSNL Franchise in Sopore, in which one young man was killed and two were injured. This created fear psychosis among people in the town and lead to discontinuation of mobile services also. The town has thrown back into the pre 2000 era. Needless to say, this has created immense problems for people in the town. Also people from the town living in other cities and working overseas are not able to contact their near and dear ones.
Inspector General of Police Kashmir Zone, Syed Javaid Geelani has held the militant outfit Hizb ul Mujahideen responsible for the killing and threatening people connected with the telecommunication services. In a statement on Thursday, he that nobody will be allowed to disrupt the telecommunication system in Sopore and shortly the service will be restored. We are in touch with all the stakeholders including the officials of cellular companies, landlords and shopkeepers and within days telecommunication system will be restored in the town, he said adding that militants responsible for the killings will be exposed soon. He said the police has arrested many suspects and is questioning them.
The town has witnessed a complete breakdown of communications as all the towers of the private telecom players have become non operational. BSNL service is still working, but it is of not much help given that a large majority of people use the services of the private companies.
J and K Police should act in quick time and nab the culprits behind this killing and the intimidation. This will not only restore peoples confidence, but also help them get their life and businesses back on track. A delay or a failure in nabbing the culprits can have a cascading effect.
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