More than two months after tourists in Jammu and Kashmir were asked to leave the state, as the centre prepared to revoke its special status and divide it into two union territories, the administration said it will lift the restrictions on Thursday.
“Governor Shri Satya Pal Malik held a Situation cum Security Review Meeting today with the Advisors and the Chief Secretary. The Governor directed that the Home Department’s advisory asking tourists to leave the valley be lifted immediately. This will be done w.e.f. 10.10.2019,” the Jammu and Kashmir administration’s information department tweeted.
The central government had ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 and split it into two union territories, saying the move would help ensure that people of the state get the same constitutional benefits as the rest of the country and spur development.
To prevent any backlash, the centre also imposed massive security restrictions and took measures that included arresting politicians, posting extra troops and blocking phone and internet lines.
Some of those curbs have been slowly relaxed, but mobile and internet communications in the Kashmir valley are largely still blocked.
Before the move was announced, authorities called for holiday-makers to leave “immediately” over “terror threats” to the Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage, sending thousands scrambling for places on planes and buses in early August.
Governor Satya Pal Malik repeated centre’s assertions that authorities were gradually lifting curbs, adding that “all the security restrictions were removed in most parts” of the region.
Tourist operators had expressed concerns that they were badly hit by the sharp drop-off in visitor numbers, and were worried many people would stay away for a prolonged period of time.
More than 5 lakh people visited the valley in the first seven months of this year, according to official data.
In addition, some 3.4 lakh pilgrims were also visiting the valley in July before the Amarnath Yatra was called off due to the terror alert.
Just 150 foreign travellers visited Kashmir after August 5 when New Delhi scrapped its autonomy until the end of the month, the figures showed.
(With inputs from agencies)
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