‘When guns roar from both sides, injuries are bound to happen. Those injuries need a healing touch.’
Srinagar: Mehbooba Mufti, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir after inaugurating the 64th Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) convention, said that ‘India has left us alone’.
While addressing members of the tourism industry, Mehbooba said that Kashmir is going through a difficult phase and needs a ‘healing touch’.
“If you see globally, there are problems everywhere, but our problem is that our own country (India) has left us alone. To deal with the tough situation we are in, there are many ways, however, only one is being used and that is gun is being used against the gun,” said Mehbooba.
She added, “When guns roar from both sides, injuries are bound to happen. And those injuries need a healing touch…And the state government here cannot do that alone. That healing touch will come from our own country, our own people, you people.”
‘One incident and on TV it is as if whole valley is burning’
Mehbooba once again blamed the Indian media, especially the electronic media for creating a negative perception about the valley.
The problem is that any untoward incident or an encounter happens anywhere in Kashmir, I can tell you that on TV they will show as if whole of the state is burning. The tourists here start getting calls that are you in the same Kashmir which we are seeing on Times Now, on Republic TV, NewsX, India Today….,” Mehbooba lamented.
She also mentioned that due to the negative coverage, not just the valley, but tourism in the Jammu region has also been hit. She pointed out that apart from countering the gun, the alienation which people here feel ‘needs to be countered too’.
“One way to fight is when our soldier fights at the border, fights militancy. Another way to fight is that when you people come here and fight the alienation people feel here,” Mehbooba asserted.
‘Safest place for women’
While referring to a recently released video of the JK Tourism ‘The Warmest Place on Earth’, Mehbooba said that Kashmir, without any doubt, is the safest place for women too.
“I have no hesitation in saying that Kashmir is not only the warmest place on earth but the safest place for women on earth. If there is a place in the whole country which is absolutely safe for girls it is the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mehbooba said.
‘Country was divided into two and Kashmir is suffering’
She again reiterated that Kashmir is suffering due to the partition in which Kashmiris had no role to play.
“The people of JK are really nice. Waqt kay sataye hain (They are just in trouble). We are caught up in troubles due to a partition which had nothing to do with us. Our country was divided into two and Kashmir is suffering.”
“Bullets are fired on which border… not in Punjab but here. Infiltration happens and militants are being sent to Jammu and Kashmir. And who dies when bullets are fired…we people. It’s our policeman, our Army man, our children…,” she said.
“So we people are injured and we need a healing and you coming here is that healing touch,” Mehbooba said amid a lot of cheering.
‘Don’t have much to offer if our air, land, forests are not protected’
Also present on the occasion was Tourism Minister Tasaduq Mufti who also agreed that perspectives of people who watch the Indian media need to be changed.
“A few untoward incidents happen and the dynamics change. My answer is that this (event) is an auspicious start to the season. Our state sits on top of our country like a crown. And without this crown, the country would not be a complete expression, if I may say,” said Tasaduq.
He also mentioned that people have to take up the roles of guardians, conservationists and take better care of our ‘product’.
“I somehow feel that the very space we are trying to showcase needs us to work harder to protect it. When you talk about footfall, bringing in more tourists, then we need to take better care of our product. We need see ourselves as guardians. As conservationists as we need to make sure that the waters that emerge from the mountains down to our fresh water lakes remains crystal clear,” said Tasaduq.
He laid stress on the fact that if Kashmir’s water, land and air is not protected, then we don’t have much to offer.
“If we have life lines going through our city in regard of streams and rivers unless those are not crystal clear what are we trying to sell to the people coming in from outside. Unless we don’t protect our water, our land, our forests which are the fundamentals of a healthy society, I don’t think we have much to offer. And for that we need sustainable partnerships,” Tasaduq pointed out.