J&K govt to take action against Geelani

The Jammu & Kashmir government will take action against those responsible for hoisting Pakistani flags during a rally led by separatist Hurriyat leader Syed Geelani at Tral earlier this week.

“The law will take its own course. Nobody will be spared,” J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Saeed told mediapersons in Ahmedabad on Saturday, when asked about the issue.

Last month, Pakistan flags were hoisted at Geelani organized rally in Srinagar for another separatist leader Masarat Alam, where anti-India slogans were also raised.

Following a hue and cry, Alam was later detained and subsequently arrested under the Public Safety Act. “The man was released after 5 years. However, as soon as he unfurled the flag (of Pakistan), we took action. Any violation of law and order will be dealt with sternly,” Mufti said.

On the issue of Geelani warning the Central government at the rally and demanding that duration of the Amarnath Yatra be restricted to one month, the chief minister appeared to be playing it down. “It was a Muslim from Kashmir who had discovered the holy cave. It is part of our culture and the yatra has been going on for centuries and would continue the way it has in the past. It is we who decide, not they,” he said.

Speaking about the need to resettle Kashmiri Pandits back in to the valley, Mufti said that he would not rest till he had achieved rehabilitation and resettlement of Pandits in the valley. “Over 300,000 Pandit families left the valley in 1990s. Various governments, including Dr Manmohan Singh’s government, has tried and unfortunately not succeeded in bringing Pandits back,” Mufti said, adding.

Mufti was in Gujarat with a team including economist and senior minister in his government, Haseeb Drabu, to promote tourism for his state.

He appeared to be at his marketing best, stating that his state was most secure for anyone to visit. “People may think differently and may have different politics but till now not one tourist has been harmed. The tourists are our lifeline and people in J&K very well know this and shall never allow any tourist to be harmed,” Mufti said.

The J&K chief minister said that the real battle for his government was to fight negative perception that has been created across the world.

The growth of tourism was reduced from 8 per cent to 2 per cent he said.

As efforts to boost tourism, he highlighted steps being initiated by his government, including uniformed security personnel at the airport, pre-paid taxi services, patenting of Kashmiri handicrafts and price control, launching cruise service in the Jhelum river, invitation to India Inc to organise a Davos-like event next winter etc.

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