Kashmir Indepth

In deserted Gulmarg, residents say ‘all is well’


Gulmarg, Sept 06 : “All is well here; we saw nothing adverse here in last one month,” Ghulam Qadir, Sarpanch from Khatim Wali Village of Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, who along with other 145 families shift Gulmarg every year in the month of April to October to rear cattle and also work as a tourist guide, told.

However, he was quick to add that the area witnessed frequent searches by army personnel, helicopters, hovering over the sky and heavy deployment of forces in last one month.

The nomadic families were reluctant to speak anything about the untoward incident happened in that part of the Gulmarg in past one month, however, were frequently saying their only source of livelihood has lost after no tourist- local, non-local and foreigner has visited the place.

Qadir told that the famous tourist destination saw no visitors from last month, but pretended to be clueless about the ongoing crisis in the area- citing lack of means of any communication after the center revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

On Friday a dozen of journalists working with local and national media visited the Nagin I, Nagin II and Nagin III area of Gulmarg, where at least 145 families temporarily live in Dhokas. The visit was planned and centrally guided by Army to Butha Pathri, but journalists were not allowed to visit beyond Nagin III- the place three kilometers far from Butha Pathri.

Army officers present on the spot didn’t utter a single word about the present ongoing crisis in the area. However, after visiting other spots of the famous tourist resort, the countable number of civilian presence had a different story to tell. The fear is visible on their faces.

Initially, they refuse to talk about the present situation in the area, but after thorough interaction, they speak about Army’s large presence in the tourist resort and frequent searches counted by military in hotels and other buildings. “You can observe yourself the situation here, nobody is visiting the place and after 8Pm in the evening one can’t move out of the house,” they told.

Last week, the Army accused Pakistan Army of pushing infiltrators through multiple launch pads on the Line of Control (LoC) in J&K after the August 5 decision to revoke the State’s special status.

The Army also released a video of two recently arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militants — Mohammad Khalil and Mohammad Nazim — allegedly from Pakistan’s Rawalpindi area. The Army had launched over 300 search operations in Gulmarg in the past few weeks in the wake of reports of major infiltration bids.

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