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When The CM Of Kashmir Cried

In Kashmir, News, Politics, Tourism on 28 May, 2006 at 3:21 am

As I pointed out in my previous post on Kashmir and Tourism, tourists have never been harmed, intentionally, in Kashmir. But, there is a twist: a tourist bus, carrying tourists from Gujrat, was blown. It killed four tourists. The CM of Kashmir cried when he saw the dead tourists.

Sad, it is, but there is a lot more to it than just that.

This is what the press wrote about the security arrangements in the valley:

Olive green covers the entire red carpet in Srinagar city.

For, never before has fortified Srinagar been such a fortress, a city under siege swarming with police, paramilitary and Army personnel. courtesy

All entry routes to Srinagar city on 17-km Panta Chowk Parimpora bypass at Pantha Chowk, Nowgam, Chanapora, Sanat Nagar, Hyderpora and Tengpora, were sealed to all traffic. courtesy

“Such an arrangement recalls the early 1990s when militancy was at its peak,” a senior police officer said. courtesy

PM's visit affects Srinagar hotels.

The tourists were killed at a time when the Round Table conference was being held. Kashmir was being watched closely by the media and the image of a 'normal and safe Kashmir' probably doesn't go well with 'some people.' These people are the people in the government, the people who survive because of the conflict.

Questions that merit an answer:

Q- Why would the militants kill tourists on a day when Kashmir was under a tight grip of the security forces?

Q- For the first time ever, even milk was not allowed to enter into the city, how would the militants plan and execute such an operation?

Q- With such security measures in effect, how did the militants smuggle in explosives, locate Gujrati tourists and then attack?

Q- Why would the militants risk detection and target innocents? All the other attacks (Congress Rally, Peer Bagh attack) led to almost zero civilian casualities.

Q- If the militants had to send shivers down the spine of the tourists, they could have easily (logistically) tried a different occasion. Why would they be specific and target Gujrati tourists?

Q- Wouldn't a press release from the militants asking tourists not to visit Kashmir be more effective?

Let’s have a look at the days in Srinagar:

MAY 23:  Militants attack a BSF bus in Peer Bagh

MAY 24: PM arrives

MAY 25: PM Leaves

MAY 25: Militants (allegedly) attack a tourist bus.

There are three possible scenarios that led to the killing of the tourists:

Scenario I: The way congress works

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, speaking after the two-day conference with pro-India politicians to discuss the region's future, said that the heavy Indian troop level in Kashmir could be reduced if violence lessened. courtesy of indian express

But since tourists were attacked even with a water tight security blanket in place, the ‘violence in Kashmir’ has not ‘lessened,’ and thus the troop level can not be ‘reduced.’

Was helping Kashmir a mission of this Round Table?

Probably not.

“The attack on the Congress rally had no impact at all but the restrictions in wake of security arrangements have created a big problem”, he says insisting that hawking Kashmir to revelers would now be a difficult problem.

Patil believes holding such a high-profile conference at the peak of tourist season suggests that the governments at centre and Srinagar care too hoots about the ‘peace and prosperity’ they talk about with reference to Kashmir.

courtesy economic times

A blue turban can easily be colored saffron, as Arundhati Roy once said: what the BJP does by day, the congress does by night!

Scenario II: A work of VHP

Could this bombing be a handiwork of the VHP?

Togadia demands a boycott of Kashmiri goods.

Insane words from an insane person.

The tourists were killed on a day the valley was carpeted with green security forces. Togadia asks 'Indian People' to boycott Kashmiri goods (he is unaware that bulk of the Kashmiri carpets are exported and a boycott would lead to a minor effect on Kashmiri carpets; with the opening of the Muzaffarabad- Srinagar trade road, apples can find their way easily and much more profitably for the Kashmiris to Pakistan and from thereon to elsewhere; Kashmir as a tourist spot can not be boycotted by Indians, it's the cheap Switzerland.) but could VHP actually have planned and executed this operation?

But why did Togadia respond the way he did?

It is obvious, this attacks help fan communal tension (VHPs objective), reaffirms the Kashmir-Muslim-Terrorist axis (VHPs objective), and helps VHP to demand more inhumane treatment to Kashmiris (on the alleged reason of fighting terrorism, it must be noted that PM of India, has promised a Zero Human Rights Violation tolerance policy, but the security forces did not even listen to the PM of India, and went ahead with their HR violations )

And here are some eggs for Togadia’s face:

“Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gam (joy and sorrow go together). This is the mantra of life and we have to carry on with it,” he said when asked about the blast in which four Gujarati tourists were killed and five injured at Batpora on the city outskirts on Thursday evening.

Another tourist from Maharashtra, Shriya Mehta sounded philosophic about the incident. “Whatever is written in our destiny will happen. We’re scared after hearing about the incident but after coming here our fears vanished when we saw everything normal here,” Shriya said.

Gagandeep from Haryana was all praise for the Kashmiris hospitality. “During my stay in the lake, people were extremely helpful and taught my wife how to cook Kashmiri delicacies. I have visited many countries but only found Kashmiris hospitable and affectionate,” he said as he bid goodbye to his host.

Muhammad Azim Tuman, chairman of Houseboats Owners Association expressed satisfaction over the tourist arrivals. “No booking has been cancelled due to the blast. In fact we receive more inquiries about the availability of houseboats,” Tuman said.

President of Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association (KHARA), Habibullah Mir said, “the tourists went to various tourist resorts as per schedule today and our bookings are intact.”

(all quotes courtey of greater kashmir)

It appears that no one is listening to the colors of saffron afterall!

Scenario III: History repeats itself

The PM's visit and the accompanying incidents are a reminder to the Pathribal killings. The Pathribal killings were on the eve of President Clinton’s visit to India. These tourist killings were on the eve of Manmohan’s visit to Kashmir for the Round Table Conference.

Pathribal encounter: Five Armymen found guilty of killing innocent Kashmiris

Five people were killed on March 26, 2000 in Pathribal in South Kashmir who, the army claimed, were mercenaries responsible for the gunning down of 35 members of Sikh community on March 21 when the then US President Bill Clinton was on a visit to India.

The 18-page CBI chargesheet said that after the gunning down of Sikh community members, the army unit operating in the area was under "tremendous psychological pressure" to show results because there was allegation of inefficiency and ineffectiveness on their part.

The CBI alleged the army personnel entered into a criminal conspiracy to pick up the some innocent persons and stage manage an encounter to create the impression that the militants responsible for the Chittisinghpora killings had been neutralised. courtesy of outlook india.

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