During toughest times, nobody touched pilgrims in Kashmir: JRL

During toughest times, nobody touched pilgrims in Kashmir: JRL
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Slams Delhi-based news channels for ‘smear campaign’

SRINAGAR: Terming the warm hospitality of the people of Kashmir a globally acknowledged fact, the joint resistance leadership (JRL) on Friday slammed the Delhi-based news channels for running a “smear campaign” and “propaganda” about threats to Amarnath Yatra pilgrims.
The leadership appealed to pilgrims and tourists not to pay heed to “false propaganda” stories being run by a few Delhi-based news channels and instead focus on their Kashmir sojourn without any fear and intimidation.
In a statement, the JRL comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik said Kashmiri people will continue to retain and nourish the tradition of brotherhood and communal amity.
The leadership said Kashmiri people never compromised on their tradition of hospitality even in the toughest and most trying times and always played a friendly host whether it was a tourist or an Amarnath pilgrim who came to Kashmir.
JRL said some news channels are hell bent on spreading hate and falsehoods on Kashmir. “There is no threat to Amarnath Yatris from Kashmiris as reported by these mischievous media outlets from their cosy studios in New Delhi. These pilgrims are very much safe in the Valley,” it said. “Fake news, twisting of facts and projecting villainous pictures of Kashmiris has been the modus operandi of these news channels and people of Kashmir and tourists have understood their ulterior motives and nobody is paying heed to their false reporting anymore.”
“We want people of India to come to Kashmir and stay here and to see for themselves the ultimate form of repression being unleashed by the lakhs of government forces who are muzzling the genuine rights of people under military might and how youth are pushed to the wall due to the iron-fist policy of New Delhi. Tourists and Amarnath pilgrims by visiting the places of their choice can tell the actual ground reality to rest of the people across India and also expose these sections of Indian media who have adopted a jingoistic approach vis-a-vis Kashmir just to get their TRPs high.”
Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik said some brains have always been working behind the scenes and framing policies to keep the people of India away from Kashmir “so as to promote false propaganda about us and give justification for the reign of terror unleashed by forces”.
“Even during the toughest times which included people’s agitation of 2008, 2010 and also in 2016, nobody touched pilgrims and the annual pilgrimage went on without any disturbance. The fact remains that when a tourist bus met an accident in south Kashmir in 2016, it were the local Kashmiris who rescued the injured and accompanied them to the various hospitals.”
“The people of Kashmir were on one hand being blinded by lethal pellets, killed by live bullets and maimed and thrashed while as resistance leadership was caged and lodged in solitary confinements in 2016, but the annual pilgrimage went on smoothly and remained a peaceful affair. People continued with their hospitality and played hosts without letting the pilgrims and tourists feel the pain and agony they were subjected to by the thousands of forces personnel, who had gone berserk in every corner of Kashmir,” the leadership said.
JRL said that on behalf of the people of Kashmir, Yatris and tourists should feel assured that there is no threat or danger to their lives from Kashmiris and that they can perform their religious rituals without any worry.