Indian Kashmir reopens to tourists
The entrance was forbidden since August 2, before the Delhi authorities revoked the semi-autonomous status of the Valley. The predominantly Muslim territory is devastated by an all-out curfew, thousands of arrests and continuous skirmishes between the army and militants.
New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Indian authorities have decided to cancel the ban on entering Jammu and Kashmir, and allow tourists to return after a little over two months. As of today the state boundaries have been reopened to transit; yesterday secondary schools, high schools and universities were reopened.
However, says a chemistry student at the prestigious Sri Pratap College, it will take time before life in the Valley "returns to normal", after the clashes, prolonged curfews and arrests of over 4 thousand activists devastated daily life.
The Kashmir territory, on the border between India and Pakistan, has been disputed since the partition between the two countries in 1947. Entry was forbidden to the public last August 2 for security reasons and for the "threat of terrorist attacks" . The officials had issued an alert inviting foreigners to immediately cut short their holidays and the pilgrims who had to go to the famous Amarnath Yatra pilgrimage, to turn around.
Three days later, the Delhi government canceled Article 370 of the Constitution, which guaranteed a semi-autonomous status to the Muslim-majority region. From that moment, the life of the population remained suspended, the clashes between the army and militants began, the territory was transformed into a war camp.
As of today, tourists can return to visit the Kashmir Valley, famous for its natural beauty, the excursion on Lake Dal aboard the "Shikaras", the traditional local gondolas. However, although the central authorities invite foreigners to return, it is not certain that the return will be immediate, since internet services remain suspended.