Gujarat Govt Diktat to Yatris: ‘Avoid Sight Seeing in Kashmir

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Srinagar: Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK) Saturday expressed shock at the circular issued by the Gujarat government barring yatris to Amarnath cave shrine from visiting areas of tourist interest during the yatra period spanning nearly two months.

Gujarat Commissioner of Transport has laid down strict conditions for Road Transport Offices (RTOs) in Gujarat for issuing the vehicle permits for the Amarnath Yatra of 2018. Besides other restrictions the circular has also asked travel agents and tour operators to convey their drivers to stick to their yatra routes only.

The circular has further asked operators to submit a route plan of the tour for the purpose of seeking permit, no night halts are allowed on the route, except in areas pre-decided by the government, ATOAK quoting from the circular said in a press statement here Saturday.

“No bus can run after sunset which also means pilgrims can’t visit any tourist area other than the pilgrim route”, it said.

Association President Rauf Tramboo said that by issuing such a circular, “the Gujarat government was simply barring their people from coming to Kashmir. They want to scare away those intending to visit Kashmir for the Amarnath pilgrimage. This circular makes it seem that they are going into a war zone,” Rauf said. “We haven’t seen or heard of such type of advisory before, even when militancy was at its peak in Kashmir.”

He said, the members of ATOAK will be meeting Minister of Tourism Tassaduq Mufti and apprise him about the consequences and impact of this circular which will affect the pilgrim tourism in general and adventure tourism in particular in Kashmir Valley.

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