Srinagar, Jun 26 : Expressing concern over restrictions imposed by authorities around Dal Lake on Wednesday and Thursday in view of two-day visit of Union Home Minister Amit Shah to Kashmir, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) termed the order as unwarranted interference in the normal activities of the population.
Unprecedented security arrangements have been put in place in and around S K International Conference Centre (SKICC) on the banks of world famous Dal Lake, where civilian traffic will not be allowed to ply on Boulevard and Gupkar roads on Wednesday and Thursday. Security forces have been deployed in strength along the Boulevard and Gupkar road stretches, which have been closed with barbed wires and vehicles for civilian movement. Security forces holding automatic weapons could be seen patrolling Dal Lake on Shikaras and motorboats.
A spokesperson for the KCCI said that the order practically seals the Dal Lake and peripheral areas for two days that shall cause tremendous inconvenience to tourists and persons associated with the tourism business. ''Although tourist vehicles have been exempted from the restriction, but tourists have been advised to restrict their movement to bare minimum requirement on boulevard,'' he said.
He said the order has chosen to ignore the sensitive nature of the tourism business with the bizarre advice to tourists to restrict their movement to bare minimum. ''The restrictions prevents local customers from visiting hotels and Mughal Gardens situated in the sealed off zone. The local population of the area, residing in the area and passing through are also impacted,'' he said.
He said the restrictions are a telling indicator of the situation prevailing in the Valley. ''It was only a few years ago in the year 2013 when the then Union Home Minister had visited the city centre and interacted with people and shopped there. The Home Minister was in a private car driven by the then Chief Minister and had proceeded to purchase Kashmiri Suits, Fruits and even had ice-cream. Reference of that city-tour is given to demonstrate the minimal disturbance caused to the public although the status of the visiting dignitary was the same as today,'' he said.
He said the Governor administration is urged to review the restrictions in view of the disruptions it would cause to the tourists as well as the local population.