Kashmiri stone-pelters now attacking tourists, children: One Chennai visitor dead
Stone-pelting in J&K claimed the life of a person, a young tourist from Chennai, whose vehicle was attacked at Narbal on the Srinagar-Gulmarg highway yesterday. Two of his family members and a local teenager were also injured. This comes days after a tourist from Mumbai, Ritu Devi, sustained severe head injuries during stone-pelting in South Kashmir. An FIR has been lodged.
The family had reached Kashmir just one day ago
Thirumani's family had reached the state Sunday and was on the way to Gulmarg when it came under attack. He succumbed to injuries at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Soura. Apart from him, another five-six vehicles were targeted. A 19-year-old Handwara resident identified as Sabreena also sustained injuries. Stone-pelters were protesting the killing of five Hizbul Mujahideen militants in a Shopian encounter Sunday.
Last week, protesters attacked a school bus, child injured critically
There has been an unusual rise in targeting of tourists in recent times. Late last month, a group of 47 tourists, mostly from Kerala, were attacked in Anantnag while they were traveling in tempos. Seven people sustained injuries. Earlier this month, stone-pelters also attacked a school bus carrying over 50 children, including four-year-olds, in Shopian. Two children were injured, one of them critically.
'These attacks deserve our unequivocal condemnation'
How does pelting stones on school children or tourist buses help advance the agenda of these stone pelters? These attacks deserve our unequivocal condemnation this tweet is mine. https://t.co/cncux82E6k— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) May 2, 2018
'My head hangs in shame': Mufti
Reacting to the latest incident, former CM Omar Abdullah tweeted, "We've killed a tourist by throwing stones at the vehicle he was travelling in. Let's try and wrap our heads around the fact that we stoned a tourist, a guest, to death while we glorify these stone-pelters." "My head hangs in shame. It's very sad and heartbreaking," incumbent CM Mehbooba Mufti said.
Such incidents likely to hit J&K's tourism sector hard
Such incidents don't bode well for a state dependent on tourism. Since the 2016 unrest, the sector has revived somewhat, but is still weak. According to officials, the season got off to a good start this year, better than 2017, but frequent shutdowns, encounters and clashes will deter arrivals. Stakeholders are expecting domestic arrivals to peak this month, but only if things remain well.