SRINAGAR: J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today appealed to country’s tourism industry to clear the negative perceptions about Jammu and Kashmir and help in bringing peace to the troubled Valley.
Speaking at the inauguration of the 64th convention of Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) here this evening, she described tourism as the best means of people to people dialogue adding that every effort in this regard would be an investment in peace. “Tourism helps build bridges among people which ultimately leads to minimizing alienation or misgivings about each other”, she said.
The three day TAAI convention is being held at Srinagar after a gap of 31 years. The last TAAI convention was held here in 1987.
Mehbooba said the State has gone through a phase of enormous violence during the last three decades or so for which people here need a healing touch which tourism sector alone can provide. “Government alone cannot do that, you have to do partnership with us”, she told the delegates.
“There is no doubt that we are going through a very difficult phase but we have invited you today for our handholding”, she said.
The Chief Minister blamed some media houses for blowing the violence in Kashmir out of proportion. “If there is any untoward incident in Kashmir, when we are sitting here, if there is anywhere such an indent, the TV channels would present it in such a way that it looks if entire Kashmir is afire. This had impacted our Jammu tourism as well besides that of Kashmir”, she said.
She said that fighting gun with gun is no solution for Kashmir but there are other ways as well which can provide balm to sufferings of the people. “Our situation is not hidden and there are such problems across the globe but our problem is that our country has left us alone. We are facing tough situation. There are many ways to deal with the situation but we are using only one way to deal it. That is fighting the gun with the gun but the pain it inflicts needs balm that can be provided by the people of the country, by you people”, she said.
The Chief Minister said that State is victim of tough times of the past which bruised people immensely but they have remained unmatched in their hospitality and warmth.