Yatri Killings: Valley’s hospitality sector to observe ‘Black Day’ tomorrow, call for complete shutdown

“Why were only Gujaratis attacked yesterday? This has to be overlooked seriously. We were receiving good rush from Gujarat state”

Srinagar: Traders related to the hospitality sector of the valley on Tuesday held a protest against the killing of Amarnath Yatris (pilgrims) and have decided to observe a ‘Black day’ here on Wednesday.

They have also called for a complete shutdown of their establishments against the killings and demanded an independent probe to find the real culprits behind the attack.

The police said that seven Amarnath pilgrims were killed and 19 injured when militants associated with Lashkar-e-Toiba attacked forces in Batengoo area of Anantnag district on Monday night.

Hamid Wangnoo, President of the Domestic Tour Operators Association, while condemning the attack on Yatris said, “We strongly condemn any innocent killings especially of the Yatris as they are our guests,” said Wangnoo, who is also the Secretary General of the Houseboat Owners Association.

He also questioned that all those killed were only from Gujarat and the state was receiving good rush of tourists from Gujarat.

“Why only Gujaratis were attacked yesterday? This has to be looked at seriously. We were receiving good rush from Gujarat state. Now yesterday’s attack has changed everything,” Wangnoo said.

“We want an independent probe from the state government to find the real culprits behind the attack”, Wangnoo added.

Meanwhile, the tourism fraternity including the hospitality sector of Kashmir has called for a complete shutdown of their establishments and businesses and have called to observe a ‘Black day’ to mark the protest against Yatri killings.
Nasir Shah, Chairman, Pilgrimage and Leisure Tour Operators of Kashmir said that the incident is a slap on Kashmiriyat (ethos of Kashmir).

“We as tour operators strongly condemn this brutal act. It is a slap on Kashmir and Kashmiriyat. Our hearts go out for those who have lost their loved ones. We have complete sympathies for those who have been killed and injured.”

Nasir further added, “We request the government to hold an independent probe to find out the facts about whoever is maligning Kashmir and Kashmiriyat”, he said.

Farooq Kathoo, Secretary General, Travel Agents Association of Kashmir reiterated the demand of his colleagues and demanded for an independent probe.

“We declare Wednesday a black day for us. Our establishments will remain shut tomorrow. Also we want an independent probe into the matter”, he said.

Traders also called the incident an act of cowardice which has no place in the Kashmiri society.

“This is an act of cowardice. Such incidents are unacceptable in Kashmiri society. Today every Kashmiri is condemning this brutal attack”, said Manzoor Pakhtoon, Chairman, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance.

Earlier, a number of lawyers and activists gathered in the Press Colony and held a peaceful protest against the killings of Yatris.

“The monster who committed this heinous act deserves strong condemnation. History is witness to the fact that people always stood with the Yatris and left no stone unturned to help them in all possible ways,” said Irfan Hafeez Lone, an activist and a lawyer.

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