THE DEATH OF A TOURIST: Unfortunate, unusual incident
It is the sad reality we have to face and introspect about, but the incident shouldn’t be framed as ‘death of Kashmiriyat’
The state of Jammu and Kashmir has been suffering the consequences of the decades old conflict and no day passes by without the news of someone getting killed, somewhere, somehow! The inhabitants of the valley of Kashmir have suffered the brunt of violence in the most atrocious form that it can take and many unarmed civilians have lost their lives in this imbroglio that continues to threaten life here every day.
However the recent death of a tourist during a stone pelting incident that was reported from Narbal Tangmarg, was shocking not only for outsiders but also for all Kashmiris. The incident, unfortunate but first of its kind, had shown for the first time that stone pelting mobs had left a tourist dead. It is pertinent to mention here that every year thousands of tourists visit Kashmir and no one has ever targeted any cavalcade of tourists on any of the routes leading to the famous Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Sonamarg or other destinations.
Such was the impact of the incident that people of Kashmir, including separatist leaders as well as all mainstream leaders raised their voice against it and condemned it in the strongest words. Apart from political fronts, social, religious and cultural forums also raised concern about the incident and condemned the unfortunate happening.
While the incident can in no way be condoned, one must also be mindful of the emerging situations in the valley- the day when the tourist was killed had also seen five civilians getting killed and hundreds of others receiving injuries, some of them fatal injuries. As Kashmir is the region were law and order situation turns around in a matter of minutes, the state government has this added responsibility to keep the security measures under consideration and ideally no tourist transportation should have been allowed to ply on that day.
While one may try to argue that anger and frustration on the streets here triggered by the innocent killings at the hands of the government forces may have some pattern and form, but it looks like more of an idealistic approach by any given human standards as such situations are always risky. Highly condemnable that the anger of people resulted in the killing of a tourist, but painting the canvas by a single stroke and declaring that ‘Kashmiriyat was dead’ may be an overstatement.
If we look at the figures and statistics related with the inflow of tourists since 2016- the year when a new wave of protests hit the streets of Kashmir valley after the killing of Hizb Commander Burhan Wani- one has all reasons to be optimistic as no incident, ofcourse barring the one that we are discussing about, involving any attack on tourists has been recorded. Moreover there have been many occasions fully documented when locals came to the rescue of tourists and Amarnath pilgrims.
People of Kashmir are caught in a very precarious situation and the desperation as well as hopelessness is seemingly at its peak and yet people from all shades of life want that tourists reaching here from different parts of the world shouldn’t suffer any inconvenience and in the events if such a thing does happen, one cannot but condole and hope that such thing doesn’t repeat at el. Given the reaction of all regarding the unfortunate killing of a tourist- one can presume that ‘Kashmiriyat is alive’!
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