Tourism is magical medicine for the Valley: Mehbooba Mufti

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today described tourism as a “magical medicine” that can provide a healing touch to the wounds of the people and said the Valley was safe for all visitors.

A day after reports of tourists being pelted with stones in the Valley, Mehbooba asked people not to fall prey to rumours and said the trouble was the handiwork of “some vested interests”.

“There have been some isolated incidents of tourists getting injured during clashes. However, projecting them as a deliberate design with malafide intention by a section of the media is regretted and should be condemned. The Valley is safe,” Mehbooba told PTI in an interview here.

The chief minister, who has been camping here since Monday, said she had personally taken stock of the situation and directed all law enforcement agencies to ensure that places frequented by tourists in the Valley are guarded properly.

“During the process of movement of tourists, there were unfortunate incidents of some tourists caught in a stone-pelting mob situation. There were injuries to our guests. This has been criticised by one and all. Since yesterday, various tourism related organisations have approached me.

Tourism, she said, was the mainstay of Kashmir’s economy.

“The state has gone through an enormous phase of violence. The tourism industry is one magical medicine that can provide a healing touch to the wounds of people. This can benefit an ordinary shikarawala, roadside hawker, small eatery…,” Mehbooba said.

“You see, after many stressful years, we have an opportunity for our common Kashmiri brothers and sisters to earn. No Kashmiri will push away an opportunity to earn his or her livelihood, she said.

The trouble, she added, was the handiwork of some vested interests who wanted people in the Valley to continue to suffer.

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