Despite ongoing border tensions with Pakistan, the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is the safest place for tourists in India. Mahmood Ahmad Shah, the director of the tourism department in Kashmir, said J&K is completely safe for visitors. Shah said J&K is the only state in the country to have ‘zero crime record’ against tourists.
He said “The state has a dedicated tourism police force to assist travellers, especially in Sonemarg and Gulmarg areas.”
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Shah described Kashmir as a round-the-year destination offering snowfall in the winter, blossoms in the spring, and endless alpine meadows in the summer and glory of crimson chinar trees in autumn. He said in 2017, the state registered one lakh foreign tourists with the number of domestic tourists crossing one crore.
“People from Gujarat comprised 30 per cent of the domestic tourists in 2018, while those from West Bengal were the second highest in number of 25 per cent”, said Shah. He also added that had it been ‘unsafe’, Kashmir would not have had so many foreign and domestic tourists.
A report by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also highlights that there has not been a single incident of crime against foreign tourists including females in J&K while 284 such incidents have been reported during the period in other states of India. The report states that ‘public order’ and ‘police’ are state subjects as per the seventh schedule of the Constitution of India.
Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya, the chairman of J&K Hoteliers Club, said “J&K’s hospitability is the best. No matter what the situation in Kashmir is, our tourists are always safe and welcome.”