Tourists will be allowed back to Jammu and Kashmir after the local governor ordered an advisory for travelers to avoid the area to be lifted. The security alert was imposed days before India withdrew the region’s special status.
The decision is effective Thursday, according to the governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik. The statement came the same evening local police announced they had killed a “terrorist” in a firefight in Pulwama district, about 25 kilometers from Srinagar, the state’s summer capital.
Local officials claimed the person was a member of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), an organization which has engaged in terrorist activities and has had ties with Al-Qaeda, according to the UN. The Indian government accused the group of conducting the deadly November 2008 assault in Mumbai that killed nearly 200 people and left more than 300 injured.
The lifting of the travel advisory is part of a wider move to wind down a package of security restrictions that were put in place when Kashmir’s autonomous status was revoked. He claimed the region is also regaining internet and telephone connections.
Kashmir – which touts itself ‘Paradise on Earth’ and is famed for its snow-capped mountains, Dal Lake, temples, and mosques – saw more than 340,000 tourists and pilgrims abruptly leaving on August 2 after the Indian government issued the travel advisory. New Delhi insisted the measure will help bring security and stability to the region, as well as boosting its integration.
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