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Tourists can now visit Jammu and Kashmir; restrictions in Valley continue

Indian Express 2019-10-10 11:31:44
A Kashmiri boatman fishes from his boat at Dal Lake in Srinagar, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019. (AP Photo: Mukhtar Khan)

Tourists can officially visit Jammu and Kashmir beginning Thursday — for the first time since Article 370 was abrogated on August 5. The move comes over two months after the administration, on August 2, asked tourists and Amarnath Yatra pilgrims to vacate the Valley immediately. The order by the Home Ministry had cited “intelligence inputs of terror threats”.

Governor Satya Pal Malik had said the order would be withdrawn from Thursday. “The tourists desirous of undertaking visit to the State shall be provided all necessary assistance and logistical support,” the order carried by news agency ANI read.

Three days after the order, the Centre had announced its decision to strike down provisions of Article 370, which granted J&K special status, and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. Two days later, the move was approved by Parliament.

Since August 5, the state has been reeling under an unprecedented security clampdown, with mobile communications cut and mainstream political leaders held under detention.

Amid the lockdown, the Jammu and Kashmir State Election Commission last week announced that Block Development Council (BDC) elections would be held on “party lines” on October 24. Barring the BJP, all main political parties in the state — National Conference, People’s Democratic Party and Congress — have announced a boycott of the polls.

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