Srinagar, (IANS) The killing of a tourist from Chennai in a stone pelting incident has been widely condemned in the valley, with both mainstream politicians and the separatist leaders criticising the attack that took place in Jammu and Kashmir a day ago.
Thirumani, 22, was injured when a vehicle carrying tourists was attacked at Narbal on the Srinagar-Gulmarg highway by a stone pelting mob on Monday.
He was shifted to super specialty Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar where he later succumbed to a critical head injury.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who went to meet the family at the hospital immediately after she received the news of his demise, fell short of words condoling the family.
“My head hangs in shame,” was all that she could tell the family.
Her predecessor, Omar Abdullah, said: “We have killed a tourist by throwing stones at the vehicle he was travelling in. Let’s try and wrap our heads around the fact that we stoned a tourist, a guest, to death while we glorify these stone pelters and their methods.”
Senior separatist leader, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq said: “Deeply saddened by the news of death of a tourist due to stone pelting. Condemn such hooliganism and rowdiness.
“It is totally against our ethos of treating tourists as respected guests and brings a bad name to the peoples movement.”
The common man in the valley is no less shocked at the incident as a pall of gloom has descended on those depending for the sustenance of their families on tourism.
“What have we proved by doing this? We claim to be the most hospitable society and here we have a guest killed in stone pelting.
“What crime had the tourist committed? His only crime was that he trusted his life with us,” said Zahoor Ahmad, 33, a tourist taxi operator.
“What message are we sending out? Those who targeted the tourists cannot be fighting for the rights of Kashmiris. The incident has deeply shocked us all,” said Nazir Ahmad, a hotel owner in north Kashmir’s Sonamarg tourist resort.
People across the state have condemned the incident as “unpardonable”.
“How can anyone claim to be fighting for his/her human rights by violating the rights of others? The guilty need to be exposed as they can be anything, but not well wishers of Kashmiris,” said Bashir Ahmad, a university employee here.