Tourists Welcome to Kashmir, Says Governor Malik

Miffed tourists, yatris leaving Kashmir valley after Govt issued advisory asking tourists to leave the Valley in early August – Photo: Abid Bhat / KO

SRINAGAR – Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday directed lifting an over two-month-old advisory which had asked tourists to leave the Kashmir Valley due to “terror threat” even as normal life remains paralysed with markets shut and communication links, like mobile phones and internet, suspended.

The governor directed withdrawal of the advisory with effect from October 10.

The advisory was issued on August 2, three days before the issuance of the presidential order revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and splitting it into two federally administered territories.

Governor Malik issued the directive for lifting the security advisory for tourists at a “situation-cum-security review’ meeting with the advisors and the chief secretary here on Monday, an official spokesman said.

The governor directed that the Home Department’s advisory asking tourists to leave Kashmir be lifted immediately. This will be done with effect from October 10, the spokesman said.

The state administration had on August 2 issued a security advisory asking tourists and visiting Amarnath pilgrims to leave Kashmir as soon as possible, citing “terror threat from Pakistan” in the Kashmir Valley.

With this an indefinite curfew was clamped on the entire state, all civil liberties of local population suspended, including cutting all phones lines and internet connectivity and politicians of all hues were detained.

Sixty six days later an official spokesman said Monday governor has been holding situation-cum-security review meetings daily for two hours generally from 6 to 8 pm since August 5.

The meetings initially focused on reviewing the security scenario after imposition of restrictions in the wake of constitutional changes, the spokesman said.

It is noteworthy that the Kashmir Valley remains shut with markets closed and public transport off the roads. While landline telephone services have been restored, mobile phone services, and internet across all platforms remains suspended.

However the government spokesman said, during the past six weeks all security restrictions were lifted in the most parts of Jammu and Kashmir and the governor has been focusing on bringing life back to normal.

Some of the major decisions taken in the past in the situation-cum-security review meetings include reopening of schools, colleges and universities, restarting public transport and opening of additional travel counters at Srinagar’s Tourist Reception Centre, the spokesman said.

The decisions also included opening of 25 internet kiosks in each district to facilitate the public and government departments and monitoring attendance in government offices, he added.

“In today’s meeting the governor was briefed about the Block Development Council elections which are scheduled to be held on October 24.

He said the governor was also informed that as Block Development Council (BDC) elections, scheduled to be held on October 24, are party-based, the delegations of parties having their leaders in jail are being allowed to meet party presidents once so that they can take decision on elections and authorise someone to approve candidates.

Most of the top level and second rung leaders, both separatist and mainstream unionists, including three former chief ministers Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest.

The governor was informed that there is active interest in the BDC elections and most of the seats of chairpersons of BDCs would be filled, the spokesman said.

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