Tourists targetted in Srinagar; return back in panic


Srinagar, May 30: With curfew-like situation returning to the valley, the tourists have started packing their bags while many are cancelling their bookings.
The valley again has descended into chaos after the killing of Hizul Mujahideen Commander Sabzar Ahmad Bhat on Saturday.
The police has reacted imposing restriction in Srinagar city and other parts of the valley.
Shops and other business establishments have also remained closed on the shutdown call given by the separatists.
Under the circumstances, the tourists find it difficult to continue their planned vacations in the valley.
Bunty Sen, a backpacker from Kolkatta, has lost two days of his weeklong trip to Kashmir by staying idle in a hotel at Boulevard.
Being an architecture lover, he had specially requested two days in his tour package for exploring the architecture of Srinagar city.
“We heard that the entire city is under siege, so my travel agent suggested avoiding travelling to downtown. I have been touring along Boulevard, which I have already seen some two years ago,” Sen said.
Scores of tourists, who are currently visiting the valley, have preferred to stay away from Srinagar city.
“I saw a fleet of tourist cabs moving from Srinagar to Gulmarg on Saturday evening, when situation turned tense in Srinagar. Even many choose to move back to their respective cities, as they can’t move freely in Srinagar and other parts of the valley,” said Umar Ahmad, a travel Agent.
The tour operators claim that the bookings to Kashmir have come down heavily in the last two days.
“Right now, we have no business. Only those tourists are currently staying here who have paid for their tour in advance. No queries are reported by the tour operators in the last two days. Those who confirm, are not ready to pay as they fear that Kashmir might witness another unrest,” Peerzada Fayaz Ahmad, former president of the Travel Agents Association of Kashmir (TAAK), said.
He said that the disruption of the communication by the government was further discouraging the tourists from visiting the valley.
“The tourists can’t do anything when internet is snapped. Those who intend to visits here first confirm whether internet services have been restored or not. From booking a ticket to buying things, , tourists rely on internet for every service,” he said.