India Insight

Kashmir — blocked road to Paradise?

July 2, 2009

A few days ago, a friend called to share plans for a week-long holiday. She had convinced her family to take the vacation in Kashmir, the perfect opportunity to escape the scorching heat of New Delhi.

It was a good time to visit the Valley. The uproar over the May 29 Shopian case — in which locals blamed the death and rape of two women on Indian security forces — had died down.

Or so it seemed.

Then my friend called again. She sounded glum and I soon knew why. The trip had been cancelled.

Her family had decided not to risk it. A curfew was in place in parts of Kashmir after security personnel in Baramulla were accused of harassing a woman.

Four protesters had died and scores injured in subsequent protests. Much of the Valley remained shut for a strike called by separatists. The streets were empty and there was little sign of tourists.

In the coming days, there is no doubt that Kashmiris will need to choose between protests and tourism — a major source of income.

Many of the Kashmiris I spoke to seemed upset that frequent protests and strikes were keeping tourists away.

“Earlier, we used to make frequent trips to tourist places like Gulmarg and Pahalgam, once in two days or even twice in one day but now we make one trip in 15 days,” said taxi operator Ghulam Rasool.

Rafique Quadri, a high-ranking state tourism official, said that regular clashes and curfews were affecting tourism in Kashmir.

Even Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has spoken out against the negative effects of such strikes and protests.

“Frequent strikes deprive thousands of people from earning their livelihood,” he told a meeting in Srinagar.

How important is it to Kashmiris for the world to catch a glimpse of what a Mughal emperor once called “Paradise on Earth”? What is their priority - azadi (freedom) or economic gain?

Comments
58 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

I have always wanted to visit Kashmir but the dark cloud of terrorism and separatist violence has kept me away.

I am no one to judge whether human rights violations are taking place in Kashmir or whether a misplaced nationalistic zeal is worsening the situation.

All I know is that violence is not the solution. Unless the local government and the populace get down to brass tacks and hammer out a solution, albeit peacefully, Kashmir will remain a global hotspot in the years to come.

If the dream of a utopian Kashmir does come true, this beautiful ‘Paradise on Earth’ tops my list of places of visit before I die.

Posted by Toe Knee | Report as abusive
 

To all of you who profess peace…

If you really claim to be who you are, Protest against the Atrocities that are happening in Kashmir and Kashmir along with the Kashmiri will be yours.

-Latif

 

As a woman I strongly condemn the gruesome rape and murder of the two women in Shopian. It is as ugly and heinous as the gangrape, molestation and humiliation of women who suffer grave human rights violation across the country.

However what happened in Kashmir after the crime was committed is also not acceptable. Politicization of women’s body, sexuality and honour is equally despicable as the act of rape and murder, perhaps even more. For it deprives a society of its cultural values and ethics.

Government has to deliver justice and it has to be seen to be delivering justice. People, civil society and media should come up with creative ways to address issues and for redressal. Taking to violence on the streets, stoking and fueling religious sentiments will only lead to more crime, deaths and breakdown.

Posted by Archana | Report as abusive
 

Do whatever you want you will never win the hearts of kashmiri people.We have given blood for our land and we will never compromise on it.We will fight till we get freedom from the Indian Occupational rule.Mark my words Freedom!!!

Posted by S.Yousuf | Report as abusive
 

Kashmir is a beautiful place. I have always wanted to visit Kashmir but the dark cloud of terrorism and separatist violence has kept me away

 

Hi Rashi.Whosoever has anything to do emotionally with Kashmir will speak about it. No one has done justice to it. The short sighted approach is responsible for the miseries it is facing. The people are the only hope. Only their prudence and far sightedness can bring respite to them. Good job Rashi!

Posted by rajan | Report as abusive
 

dear ma’am

conflicts no matter where ever they are bring with them violence,hatred and atrocities towards the weaker sections of community. be it a chechen or a columbian or an iraqi or a tamil or for that matter kashmir the story is same only the casting changes.
now the better part is that only way towards betterment is PEACE.So all the soldiers and mujahids give peace a chance.by gods grace we in kashmir are much better off.lets join our hands togather and thank the gracious god for what we have .no one can doubt that things have improved and that too for good.
kashmir will never get independence. It would be utopian to have a land locked country with no industries and this would surely lead to anarchy as we have seen elsewhere (Af-Pak).
I donot agree with the indian political approach and that includes my dear friends “HURRIYAT”.Education ,employmentand empowerment by means of ballot and rule of law should continue. my best wishes to Mr O Abdullah.No solution of kashmir can be complete without the kashmiri hindus and sikhs who have been displaced.

The writer has done an excellent work although has emotionally drifted away from the core issue ,But this is my personal view.it was nice to be here……

Posted by ankush | Report as abusive
 

I love kashmir.I would like to go there soon.

Posted by AKSHAR | Report as abusive
 

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