Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday accused Times Now, Republic TV, News X and India Today of “building negative perception” about the trouble-torn state, saying thier coverage is adversely affecting state’s tourism industry.
“If an encounter is happening in a remote corner of Kashmir, tourists get call from their family about their safety as TV channels disproportionately play up the news. These channels report situation in such a way as if entire Jammu and Kashmir is going up in flames,” Mehbooba Mufti said while speaking at the inaugural function of three-day Travel Agents Association of India convention at Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre in Srinagar on Wednesday.
“Even though the state is going through tough times, it remains the warmest place on earth and safest place for women,” she said in her keynote address, adding that her government alone cannot provide the “healing touch” caused by guns in Kashmir.
Asserting that tourists's visit to the valley is an investment in peace, Mehbooba Mufti said, “My father was used to say that when a tourist visits us, it is an investment in peace. Your every step that you set in Kashmir is investment for peace. Just like an Army jawan fights on the borders or fights against militancy that is one way of fighting. The second is to fight the alienation”, she said.
“We have same forests, same lakes and same rivers, there are golf courts, diverse languages, rich culture in Kashmir. I feel that there is no diversity in any part of the world which we have in Jammu and Kashmir", she said.
She blamed Partition of the Indian subcontinent for the miseries of people of her state. “Jammu Kashmir had no role in the division of the country, yet its people become the first victims when hostilities between the two countries (India and Pakistan) flare-up whether its border skirmishes or militancy", she said.
The CM regretted that the country had left the state alone in deep crisis when its residents were already feeling isolated and alienated.
Appealing the country’s tourism industry to clear the negative perceptions about Jammu and Kashmir and help in bringing peace to the troubled Valley, she said, “Government alone cannot do that, you have to do partnership with us. There is no doubt that we are going through a very difficult phase but we have invited you today for our hand-holding.”
In the past also, CM Mehbooba has blamed electronic media for portraying Kashmir in bad light which has adversely affected the tourism industry of the state. Back in 2016, the Jammu and Kashmir government had banned five news channels for "fomenting’ trouble" in Kashmir Valley. "These channels have created law and order problem and should be blocked with immediate effect", the state government said in a directive to cable operators in September 2016.
The five news and current affairs channels the state government had asked cable operators to block included, Noida based Gulistan TV, KBC, JK Channel, and Hyderabad based Munsiff TV and Insaaf TV.
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