Despite the portrayal of Kashmir in a certain light by sections of the elite Media, Kashmir according to an official data is the safest heaven for tourists.
According to official statistics, attack on Amarnath pilgrims remains the sole incident where they tourists were subjected to any violence.
The director of the tourism department in Kashmir, M A Shah said that attack on Amarnath yatris was an “isolated incident to scare away visitors” and such attempts will not succeed.
Data reveals that Jammu Kashmir is the only state in the country which has zero crime record against tourists and it registered one lakh foreign tourist footfall in 2017, while the number of domestic tourists crossed 1 crore.
"There have been sections of media who have wanted to portray Kashmir in a negative light to satisfy their nationalist agenda," Nihakrika Singh told The Kashmiriyat.
Official data also reveals that during the civilian uprisings of 2008, 10 and 2016 there has been no violence against tourists, infact cross sections of the society have been engaged in ensuring their safety.
Kashmir also has lately emerged as the safest travelling destination for women.
The state pertinently has recorded zero violence against women tourists, in fact, a group of female tourists from India recently had said, "The locals ensured that we are safe and they took pains in that direction."
ON FEBRUARY 23, 1991, Kunan and Poshpora, the twin villages in North Kashmir became the spot of mass rape of 53 women and sexual torture of men by the Indian Government Forces.
The alleged criminals have escaped justice and Indian governments have refused to even acknowledge the horror despite the victims recording their statements in the courts as well as knocking every door for justice.
The Army raided the village and the men of the villages were confined to a few rooms and tortured the entire night and then the Minor girls, those dumb and deaf, the physically handicapped, and the pregnant women were not spared either.Mothers were raped in front of their daughters. Grandmothers and their granddaughters were raped in the same room. The survivors said that they had bite marks on their chests, everywhere on their body, even on their hips. Many of them described bleeding from the mouth, from their private parts and from other injuries.
One of the survivors in her statement to the police given in March 1991, narrated to that she heard a knock on the door at 11 p.m. As the door was opened army men barged in and took her husband and brother-in-law with them. Some remained behind and searched the house. As they found nothing “objectionable” they caught hold of her and raped her.
“They were having liquor while raping me. My children screamed but there was no one to help me”. She fainted and only regained consciousness in the morning. Her husband and her brother-in-law too returned in the morning. Her brother-in-law was bleeding and was in a critical condition. Some days later, the police came to record her statement along with the Deputy Commissioner. She handed over her clothes as evidence. They were provided medical treatment, she states. She also recollects that she saw police constables with the army that night but says that, “they could not help me. They had themselves been beaten by army men”.
All houses had similar stories, some concerning one or two and some concerning entire households of women.
Many of them told us that the minor teenaged girls who were in the house were also raped, but that they collectively decided not to mention their names to the police.
In many of the statements, the survivor mentions only her own name or that of married relatives. Often they mention that all the “vulnerable” women other than themselves were away from the house that night, perhaps to protect them.
More young people are taking up arms in violence-hit Himalayan region of Jammu Kashmir, which has been the reason of three wars between Asian Nations, India and Pakistan since their independence in 1947.
State government data released on February 0 7 revealed that an increase of more than 40 percent in local youths joining militant ranks to fight Indian forces.
Some 280 local youths have joined militants in the last three years, with 126 joining in 2017, 88 in 2016 and 66 in 2015.
These numbers are higher in comparison to the previous years of 2014, when 53 Kashmiri youths took up militancy, with just 16 in 2013, 21 in 2012, 23 in 2011 and 54 in 2010.
The Indian government claims that militants fighting Indian forces in Kashmir sneak in from Pakistan and the Pakistan-administered part of Kashmir aided by Pakistan — an allegation Pakistan has consistently denied.
The idea of ‘Shahdat’ (Martyrdom) has been romanticized in Kashmir added to lack of political opportunities to resolve one of the longest standing dispute that youth are luring to the former idea.
The region has witnessed a 30-year armed insurgency to free it from Indian rule witnessed a new wave of uprising after a local militant, Burhan Wani was shot dead by Government Forces on July 8, 2016. The following five months of violence claimed 90 lives and injured 11,000.
The Home Ministry has asked Jammu and Kashmir state to formulate a surrender policy for militants and provide the young men with an economic rehabilitation program to bring them back to the mainstream, as per media reports.
At least 450 people, including civilians, militants and armed forces, were killed in the state last year, said a report by the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society released in January. The killings of civilians were the highest ever recorded, it said.
By official records, an average of 1,500 people have been killed each year over the last 30 years in Kashmir, compared with the annual average of 1,200 killed in the Israeli-Palestine conflict since 1920.
The Srinagar-Jammu highway today remained closed for the second consecutive day due to snow, landslides and slippery road conditions.
The national highway, the only road linking the Kashmir valley and Jammu was closed yesterday after fresh snowfall.
Meanwhile, the highway, linking the Ladakh region with Kashmir valley and the Mughal road remained closed since December last year due to non clearance of snow.
One more Dead Body of army personnel found at Sujawan Encounter site inside the army Camp, taking the Death toll to 7 (including 6 army personal & 1 civilian).
The Government Forces have been conducting search operations inside the Army base of 36 brigade of the Jammu Kashmir Light Infantry.
As per reports, 3 Militants, 6 Army men and 1 Civilian has been killed so far in the encounter, Many Civilians also sustained injuries.
The Indian Army has called it a Fidayeen Attack and held Jaish e Muhmmad operating from other side of the LOC responsible for the attack.
Pertinently a group of Fidayeen had entered the Army compound in wee hours of the morning in Sunjwan area of Jammu.
"There is no firing on either of the sides other than some occasional gun shots being heard, " Sources told The Kashmiriyat.
However the Indian Army has said that one militant is still holed up inside the Army compound and the operation is still on.
The Sringar International Airport was today locked down due to snowfall in the Kashmir valley.
Flights to/from Srinagar were delayed with consequential impact across network.
"Due to snowfall, runway at Srinagar Airport has been closed until further notice," an airport official told The Kashmiriyat.
A gunfight broke out between militants and government forces at Karanagar area of Srinagar City on Monday morning.
A police officer told The Kashmiriyat,that two militants carrying pithu bags and armed with AK 47 appoaching towards CRPF camp of 23 bn at Karanagar was observed by the alert OP sentry who immediately open fire at around 0430 hrs.
“Immediately search operation of the camp periphery launched,” he said.
The officer said that after several hours of search operation the militants were traced and accordingly an exchange of gunfire started between the two sides.
Earlier, CRPF has claimed to have repulsed the attack, however sources said that the militants had reportedly managed to sneak inside the CRPF camp of 23 bn at Karanagar.
The police officer meanwhile told The Kashmiriyat, that it can not be ruled out that the assailants might be fidayeens.
1100: Heavy Exchange of Gunfire ensues between Militants and Government forces
1120: More Troopers rushed to the spot
1150: The Government forces have cordoned off the entire area around Karan Nagar
1130: Clashes begin between Civilians and Government forces
1202: CRPF man critically wounded during the Gunfight Succumbs to his injuries, Operation Continues.
1225: "2 militants tried to barge into CRPF headquarters in the morning. They couldn't enter the headquarters but sneaked in a building close to the HQ. 5 families have been evacuated. Operation is on," IG CRPF Ravideep Sahai
1238: CRPF jawan killed in the encounter has been identified as Mujahid Khan.
1250: More Troopers from Indian Army and SOG of Jammu Kashmir Police rushed in as At least two fidayeen militants hold up in a building inside CRPF camp premises.
1310: Clashes Intensify in Srinagar, Tear Smoke Shells being used to disperse the protesters.
1325: Firing continues between militants hold up in a building and Government Forces.
1400: Militants Allegedly cornered as Troopers move in closer to the building.
1415: Policeman Critically Injured, Shifted to the Army hospital for treatment.
1500: Mobile Internet Suspended in Srinagar.
1520: Clashes continue, spread to nearby localities around encounter site.
1530: Mehbooba Mufti calls for talks with Pakistan.
1600: Army brings in more weaponry, Troops.
1622: Lashkar e Toiba Claims responsibility of the attack, says it has nothing to do with Sunjwan Attack.
1700: LED Lights installed.
1800: Encounter is still going on, Details will soon be made available, says CRPF
1900: No Firing on either side, Silence prevails as Government forces hardly make any movement.
2000: Occasional Bullet Shots heard
2030:Heavy Firing Starts on both the sides.
2100: Sounds of Huge blasts being heard in the locality amidst heavy firing.
2130: Firing and blasts continue near the encounter side.
0900: After a Lull, Fresh Firing starts, Operation Intensifies
1000: 1 Militant Killed, Identity not confirmed.
1130: Firing Continues on both the sides, Encounter may be in it's final stage.
1145: Second Militant Killed, Operation Continues.
1230: Mopping Operations Start, Heavy Presence of Troopers conducting Search Operations.
1300: Encounter Ends with the death of two Militants, 1 CRPF Man, 1 Policeman Wounded.
1320: Unconfirmed reports suggest that both the Militants are Locals, residents of South Kashmir.
The first documentary of famous Kashmir Journalist, Fahad Shah titled ' Bring Him back' was released today on the 34 death anniversary of Maqbool Butt, the founder of Jammu Kashmir Liberation front.
The film is produced by Talat Butt, Co-produced by RåFILM Sweden and JKTV Manchester.
The film that has been shot over a period of three years from 2013 to 2015 in Kashmir was released for public on Sunday.
It was initially released in London at the University of Westminster in 2015 and later on screened at the Humboldt-University of Berlin, Lund University of Sweden, British Parliament, This is the first time that the filmmakers have released the film worldwide for public.
Fahad Shah's documentary follows Shahmali Begum, the 84-year-old mother of Bhat, who has been campaigning to get her son's mortal remains back to Kashmir for last 34 years.
The film's director, Fahad Shah, who was educated in London, is a journalist and editor currently based in Kashmir frequently writes for international publications. He is the founding editor of The Kashmir Walla magazine and the editor of the anthology Of Occupation and Resistance: Writings from Kashmir (2013).
Fahad Shah has ground reported from nooks and corners of Kashmir valley bringing the issues of utmost concern in public domain. He is currently working on his second book.
The producer of the Documentary, Talat Bhat is a Sweden based Kashmiri activist, documentary filmmaker, and trade union campaigner, who has a Masters degree in Media Production and is researching the impacts of new media technologies in conflict zones.