Terming the warm hospitality of the people of Kashmir a globally acknowledged fact, the Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, in the backdrop of ongoing Amarnath Yatra, said that Kashmiri people will continue to retain and nourish this tradition as also the tradition of brotherhood communal amity.
In a joint statement, the leadership said Kashmiri people never compromised on their tradition of hospitality even in the toughest and trying times, and always played a friendly host, whether to a tourist or an Amarnath pilgrim who came to Kashmir.
Ridiculing those Delhi-based electronic media channels for running a “smear campaign and propaganda” about the threats to Amarnath Yatra and pilgrims, the leadership said that some electronic media channels are hell bent to spread hate and falsehoods on Kashmir. The leadership said that there was no threat to Amarnath Yatris from Kashmiris as reported by these “mischievous” media outlets from their cozy studios in New Delhi and these pilgrims are very much safe in the Valley.
“The fake news, twisting of facts and projecting villainous pictures of Kashmiris has been the modus operandi of these news channels and people of Kashmir and tourists have understood their ulterior motives and nobody is paying heed to their false reporting anymore,” the leaders said.
The leadership said that they want people of India to come to Kashmir and stay here and to see for themselves “the ultimate form of violence being unleashed by the lakhs of government forces who are muzzling the genuine rights of people under military might and how youth are pushed to the wall due to the iron-fist policy of New Delhi”.
They said tourists and Amarnath pilgrims by visiting the places of their choice can tell the actual ground reality to rest of the people across India and also expose these sections of Indian media who have adopted a “jingoistic” approach vis-a-vis Kashmir just to get their TRPs high.
JRL said that some brains have always been working behind the scenes and framing policies to keep the people of India away from Kashmir, to be able to promote false propaganda about us and give justification for the “reign of terror” unleashed by forces.
“Backed by the same interest groups, these news channels are yet again trying to create a wrong impression about the security of pilgrims. Even during the toughest times which included peoples’ agitation of 2008, 2010 and also in 2016, nobody touched pilgrims and the annual pilgrimage went on without any disturbance and the fact remains when a tourist bus met an accident in south Kashmir in 2016, it was the local Kashmiris who rescued the injured and accompanied them to the various hospitals,” the leadership said.
“The people of Kashmir were on one hand being blinded by lethal pellets, killed by live bullets, and maimed and thrashed while as resistance leadership was caged and lodged in solitary confinements in 2016, but the annual pilgrimage went on smoothly and remained a peaceful affair. People continued with their hospitality and played hosts without letting the pilgrims and tourists feel the pain and agony they were subjected to by the thousands of forces personnel, who had gone berserk in every corner of Kashmir,” JRL said.
The leadership that on behalf of the entire people of Kashmir, yatris and tourists should feel ensured that there is no threat or danger to their lives from Kashmiris and that they can perform their religious rituals without any worry.
They appealed to pilgrims and tourists not to pay heed to the “false propaganda stories” being run by a few Delhi-based news channels and instead focus on their Kashmir sojourn without any fear and intimidation.