Srinagar, May 29: GKN,
Apex tourist trade bodies in Kashmir have strongly criticized the Gujarat saffron brigade for threatening to boycott the Kashmiri products and services even as maintaining that the boycott could disturb the long trade ties between Kashmir and Gujarat.
President Federation of Chamber of Industries Kashmir (FCIK) Shakeel Qalandar said the boycott call by Vishwa Hindu Parishad reeks of a deep conspiracy against Kashmiri traders and artisans.
“Even as nobody knows who has killed the tourists and whole Kashmir has condemned their killing, the Hindu fundamentalist in Gujarat have initiated a malicious campaign to hit the Kashmir traders,” Qalandar said.
FCIK president said if the fundamentalist organizations continue with the boycott call, it would hurt the interests of Gujarat more than Kashmir.
Kashmir has robust trade ties with Gujarat and most of the imports in the state come from Gujarat, he said.
“Of the total import of pharmaceuticals more than 70 per cent comes to Kashmir from Gujarat. Likewise state imports around 70 per cent of the total import of milk and milk products, textile and other consumable goods from Gujarat,” he said.
Qalandar said of late the state has begun to import the timber from Gujarat.
Accusing VHP of giving up a communal color to the killing of four innocent Gujarati tourists, President Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry Rouf Ahmad Punjabi said ‘a whole community cannot be punished for this incident.’
“People of Gujarat have seen the dead bodies of the tourists but not the moistened eyes of chief minister of JK who was weeping on their killing and whole Kashmir was condemning the incident,” he said.
Punjabi said it is a fringe Hindu fundamentalist element in Gujarat that has threatened to boycott and “I hope the common Gujarati will not pay heed to their call.’
Punjabi said the state government should take up the issue with the centre as well as the government of Gujarat to safeguard the interests of Kashmiri traders and ensure protection of their products in Gujarat.
President Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Association (KTMF) M S Baqal while condemning the killing of innocent tourists in Kashmir said any action to boycott the Kashmiri products is equally condemnable.
“In Godhra when hundreds of innocent people from minority community were killed Kashmiris showed restraint. But the communal minds in Gujarat are seeking to flare up the communal frenzy at the killing of tourists that nobody knows who committed the act,” Baqal said.
Nazir Bakshi top tour operator while condemning the killing of tourists said Kashmir has a long history of hospitality which cannot end over night. “We are peace loving people and have always welcomed the guests with open arms. Now that the tourism industry is limping towards revival tourists all over the world in general and in India in particular would have to help this sector to grow in Kashmir,” Bakshi said.
Thursday evening four persons were killed and four injured in an explosion at Batapora, Zakura in the suburban Srinagar. The explosion had occurred when a tourist bus (JK02N/5737) carrying visitors from Gujarat was passing through the area.
Following the incident the Vishwa Hindu Parishad asked the people of Gujarat to stop visiting Kashmir and boycott goods from the Valley.
VHP’s firebrand general secretary Pravin Togadiya had said on Friday that billboards and posters would come across the state and pamphlets would be distributed asking people to boycott Kashmiri goods like apples, saffron, handicrafts and shawls.'