The leading politicians of Jammu and Kashmir, cutting across party lines, on Tuesday condemned the death of 22-year-old tourist whose vehicle was targeted by stone-pelters.
They were also joined by the representatives of the tourism industry who expressed fears that the incident may further affect the already falling footfall in the troubled Valley.
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Terming the killing of the Tamil Nadu tourist the “murder of humanity” , Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that the incident had rattled the mother in her.
Those who pick up stones to kill someone have no religion, an upset Mehbooba said after meeting the father of Chennai resident S Thirumani, who was holidaying in the Valley with his family and died yesterday evening at a hospital here.
The issue would be discussed and debated on television for days and “we will be silently watching the murder of humanity, which has been unheard of in the state of Jammu and Kashmir”, Mehbooba said.
Saying that her head hangs in shame, the chief minister questioned the education being imparted to children.
“The mother in me is rattled about the kind of education we are imparting to our next generation,” said the mother of two daughters and the first woman chief minister of the state.
“What are we teaching our children? To pick up stones and kill anyone walking on the road? This is not what our religion Islam preaches. Our religion teaches us to take care of our guests. These people or boys who pick up stones to kill someone have no religion,” Mehbooba added.
She also questioned the role of parents and asked what they were turning their children into.
“Can one imagine that the poor father had kept his entire savings to bring his family to Kashmir and he is now returning with the coffin of his son. Is this what we want?”
Asked whether the incident would have an impact on tourism sector, the chief minister said, “I can’t be talking about tourism, it is a basic question about humanity. This can’t be Kashmiryat.”
The incident, she added, will have an impact on the entire concept of Kashmiriyat. “My brother Tasaduq (Mufti, who is the state tourism minister) keeps on saying that its not about (tourism) industry but about humanity. We are failing on that.”
Expressing similar sentiments, former chief minister Omar Abdullah said that the treatment meted out to the visitors was a matter of shame for the state.
Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Kavindra Gupta expressed regret over the incident. However, he blamed Pakistan for orchesrating such incidents in the state.
Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also expressed disappointment over the incident. She made it clear that the Army will not change its stand on terrorists. She added that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister should ponder over how tourism can be encouraged in the state when the Kashmiris will pelt stones on visitors and kill them.
The killing of the Tamil Nadu tourist has been unequivocally condemned by the representatives of Kashmiri tourism industry as well.
The killing of the Chennai youth could be the proverbial final nail in the coffin of tourism in Kashmir, Ashfaq Siddiq, president Travel Agents Association Kashmir (TAAK), said today.
"This is a sad incident which should not have happened. Unfortunately, we feel that it will have an impact on tourist arrivals to Kashmir. I think it will be the final nail in the coffin," Siddiq told PTI.
Tourism in the state has already suffered because of prolonged periods of unrest in the Valley, hoteliers said.
There has been a steep fall in the number of domestic tourists since 201, when the killing of militant Burhan Muzaffar Wani by security forces in July that year led to a prolonged period of violence and stone pelting in the Valley.
The tourist, 22-year-old R Thirumani, was critically injured in a stone pelting incident at Narbal on Monday and died later in the day of head injuries, triggering outrage and concern.
Thirumani and his family were returning from Gulmarg when their vehicle was caught in stone pelting near Magam area of Budgam. A stone hit the young man on his right temple and he was rushed to the Soura Institute of Medical Sciences where he died.
Meanwhile, Mehbooba Mufti has called an all party meeting of the political parties to discuss the situation in the Kashmir valley.
“Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is convening an all party meeting in Srinagar tomorrow to discussthe prevailing situation with political parties across the board”, an official spokesperson said.
The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) at 2 pm tomorrow, he said.
Yesterday, a 22-year-old Chennai resident S Thirumani, who was holidaying in the Valley with his family, died after his vehicle was attacked by stone pelters.
Upset over the incident, Mufti had termed it as “murder of humanity”, something she said was unheard of in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Watch Video: Kashmiri politicians condemn killing of Tamil Nadu tourist by stone-pelters