Chennai tourist stoned in J&K: Solatium announced; Mehbooba meets Governor

File Photo of R Thirumani (22), a resident of Tamil Nadu who died on Monday in a stone pelting incident at Narbal on the outskirts of Srinagar
A 22-year-old tourist from Chennai, Tamil Nadu, on Monday succumbed in a Srinagar hospital to critical injuries received during a stone-pelting incident on Srinagar-Gulmarg Road near Narbal in Badgam District of Jammu & Kashmir. Two members of his family were also injured. The clashes erupted between security forces and protesters who went on the rampage on the outskirts of the violence-ridden city. 

R Thirumani, a resident of Chennai, suffered head injuries after being hit by a stone during the conflict on Monday morning, a police official said. A case over the killing of the tourist was registered and investigations have been taken up, the J&K police official said, reported PTI.

Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, expressing her grief over the incident, offered her condolences and said, "My head hangs in shame". After meeting the family members of the victim yesterday the CM said, "It is very sad and heartbreaking", she was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.

According to media reports, the stone-pelters were protesting against the killing of five Hizbul Mujahideen terrorists in an encounter in Shopian district.

R Thirumani, the tourist, was reportedly travelling in a vehicle along with his family in between Srinagar and Kashmir's premier resort of Gulmarg. The furious stone pelters started attacking their tourist cab and minutes after being severely hit,  Thirumani was immediately rushed to a Srinagar hospital where he succumbed to his injuries the yesterday evening.

Thirumani's body was later brought to the police hospital and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti went there immediately after she was informed that the tourist had passed away.

Opposition National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah said, "We've 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."

Among the injured from the stone pelting in Narbal is also a young woman from Handwara in North Kashmir.

On Monday, Opposition National Conference held a protest march in Srinagar against "unabated civilian killings" in Kashmir and lashed out at the PDP-BJP government and Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.

The widespread and uncontrolled incidents of stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir have become a matter of concern for the state government. Earlier on May 2, a bus carrying school students of was attacked by stone-pelters in Zawoora village of Shopian district.

Here are the top 10 developments on the death of Chennai tourist and the situation and Kashmir:

1. Grief-stricken relatives throng Thirumaniselvam's house
Trying hard to control their emotions, relatives and locals today gathered at the residence of a 22-year-old man, who was killed in stone-pelting in Jammu and Kashmir, to mourn the loss even as a pall of gloom descended on the locality in Chennai.

His body was brought to Chennai on Tuesday evening by a private flight with his parents accompanying it from Srinagar via Delhi.

Those in the neighbourhood described Thirumaniselvam as a 'good' man.

Some of them expressed shock over the death.

A youngster's life had been snuffed out in the hill state, they said as they gathered to pay their last respects.

ALSO READ: Chennai tourist hit in stone-pelting dies, Mehbooba meets family

2. Separatists call off strike in Kashmir: Separatists on Tuesday called off their three-day strike and asked the people of Kashmir to resume normal activities from Wednesday.

The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL), however, asked people to hoist black flags to protest against the alleged civilian killings in the Valley by security forces.

"The JRL has asked the people to resume normal activities from tomorrow (Wednesday) but at the same time people from all walks of life should hoist black flags and display black arm bands to show their commitment to the movement," a spokesman of the separatist amalgam said in a statement.

3. Condition in Kashmir deteriorated in three years, says OmarFormer Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said the condition in Kashmir Valley has deteriorated in last three years.

He made this remark while commenting on a tourist's death due to stone pelting in his assembly constituency

"We are proud of our hospitality and we talk about it to the world. But, what happened is nothing but sad and shameful. Unfortunately, in last three years, the condition in Kashmir Valley has deteriorated," Abdullah told ANI.

Soon after his death, Abdullah had tweeted: "This young man from Chennai died in my constituency & while I don't support these goons, their methods or their ideology I'm deeply, deeply sorry that this happened at all & that too in an area I've been proud to represent since 2014."

In another tweet, he said, "The J&K Govt has failed, the CM has failed, the BJP-PDP alliance has failed. How much blood will have to be shed in Kashmir before the Hon PM realises the gravity of the situation in J&K? When will enough finally be enough?"


The J&K Govt has failed, the CM has failed, the BJP-PDP alliance has failed. How much blood will have to be shed in Kashmir before the Hon PM realises the gravity of the situation in J&K? When will enough finally be enough?

— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) May 7, 2018

4. CM Mehbooba Mufti meets Governor: Mehbooba Mufti called on Governor N N Vohra on Tuesday and discussed with him the situation in the state, particularly counter-terrorism operations and stone-pelting incidents, including one in which a tourist from Chennai was killed.

"During the course of their hour-and-half long meeting, the governor and chief minister discussed various important matters relating to counter-terrorist operations; continuing incidents of stone pelting; the death of a tourist and other concerns," an official spokesman said after the meeting.

He said Mehbooba and Vohra also discussed the growing radicalisation.

5. Youth's death could belast nail in Kashmir's tourism coffin: IndustryThe fragile tourism industry in Kashmir has taken another blow with the death of a tourist hit by stones, and the sector fears that the incident may further affect the already falling footfall in the troubled Valley.

The killing of the Chennai youth could be the proverbial final nail in the coffin of tourism in Kashmir, Ashfaq Siddiq, president Travel Agents Association Kashmir (TAAK), said on Wednesday.

This is a sad incident which should not have happened. Unfortunately, we feel that it will have an impact on tourist arrivals to Kashmir. I think it will be the final nail in the coffin, Siddiq told PTI.

Tourism in the state has already suffered because of prolonged periods of unrest in the Valley, hoteliers said.

6. Mehbooba calls all-party meeting to discuss situation in Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti has called an all party meeting of the political parties to discuss the situation in the Kashmir valley.

"Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is convening an all party meeting in Srinagar tomorrow to discuss the prevailing situation with political parties across the board", an official spokesperson said.

The meeting is scheduled to be held at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) at 2 pm tomorrow (Wednesday), he said.

7. Palaniswami calls up Mehbooba, seeks help for return of 130 TN touristsA day after a 22-year-old tourist from Tamil Nadu was killed in stone pelting in Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister K Palaniswami on Tuesday spoke to his counterpart Mehbooba Mufti over the phone and sought her help for the safe return of 130 tourists from his state.

The chief minister, in an official release, said he had spoken to Mehbooba Mufti and sought her help for the safe return of the 130 tourists.

Condoling Tirumaniselvam's death, Palaniswami announced a solatium of Rs 300,000 to the next of kin.

The chief minister said that on his direction, Tamil Nadu House officials in New Delhi had taken all steps with the help of the Jammu and Kashmir government to bring Tirumani's body back to the state and for the safe return of the other tourists.

Tamil Nadu tourists in Jammu and Kashmir may get in touch with officials of the TN House by calling 011-24193450, 24193100 and 24193200, he said.

8. Tourist from Chennai killed in stone pelting: A 22-year-old tourist from Tamil Nadu died in Srinagar on Monday evening when a mob went on the rampage near Narbal on the outskirts of the city, police said.

Thirumani and his family were returning from Gulmarg, about 50 km from summer capital Sringar, when their vehicle was caught in stone pelting near Magam area of Budgam. A stone hit the young man on his right temple and he was rushed to the Soura Institute of Medical Sciences where he died.

The tourist was taken to the SKIMS hospital at Soura, where he succumbed to injuries, the official added.

A case was registered and investigations have been taken up in the matter, the official said.

ALSO READ: Death of TN tourist: Such incidents damage interests of people in J-K, says Tarigami

9. Death of Tamil Nadu tourist is 'murder of humanity', says Mehbooba: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti termed the death of a 22-year-old tourist whose vehicle was targeted by stone-pelters the "murder of humanity" and said the incident had rattled the mother in her.

Those who pick up stones to kill someone have no religion, an upset Mehbooba said after meeting the father of Chennai resident S Thirumani, who was holidaying in the Valley with his family and died yesterday evening at a hospital in Srinagar.

The issue would be discussed and debated on television for days and "we will be silently watching the murder of humanity, which has been unheard of in the state of Jammu and Kashmir", Mehbooba told PTI.

Saying that her head hangs in shame, the chief minister questioned the education being imparted to children.

"The mother in me is rattled about the kind of education we are imparting to our next generation," said the mother of two daughters and the first woman chief minister of the state.

Mehbooba questions role of parents: Mehbooba Mufti also questioned the role of parents and asked what they were turning their children into. "What are we teaching our children? To pick up stones and kill anyone walking on the road? This is not what our religion Islam preaches. Our religion teaches us to take care of our guests. These people or boys who pick up stones to kill someone have no religion," Mehbooba added. 

ALSO READ: Mehbooba should accept her failure to govern and step down: Omar

Mehbooba says this incident will impact ‘Kashmiriyat’: Asked whether the incident would have an impact on tourism sector, the chief minister said, "I can't be talking about tourism, it is a basic question about humanity. This can't be Kashmiryat."

Mourning over the death of the tourist, Mehbooba said: "Can one imagine that the poor father had kept his entire savings to bring his family to Kashmir and he is now returning with the coffin of his son. Is this what we want?"

The incident, she added, will have an impact on the entire concept of Kashmiriyat. "My brother Tasaduq (Mufti, who is the state tourism minister) keeps on saying that its not about (tourism) industry but about humanity. We are failing on that.

10. Defence Minister condemns death of Chennai tourist in Kashmir: Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman condemned the death of a tourist from Chennai in Kashmir and said that safer movement of tourists have to be ensured to restore normalcy.

Nirmala Sitharam spoke on the issue on Tuesday, when she was addressing the Naval Commanders Conference at Sena Bhawan in New Delhi.

She also said that the Armed Forces cannot be held responsible for being firm with terrorists.

"You can't question the Armed Forces if they are being too firm. They have to be firm with the terrorists."

"Even Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said that she is keen on getting more tourists in Kashmir. If that has been the stated desire, for a stone pelting incident to have hurt and killed a tourist It certainly is not very conducive to the very rightful suggestion of the CM that we need more tourists," she added.

The Defence Minister said that what happened to the tourist was absolutely unfortunate and cannot be accommodated. "I don't know whether it was inadvertent or advertent, but it is completely condemnable," she said.

Chidambaram asks Mehbooba to quit 'unholy' alliance with BJP: P Chidambaram today asked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to quit the PDP-BJP coalition government saying the "unholy" alliance was the gravest provocation to the people of the Valley.

In a series of tweets, the former Home and Finance Minister claimed the "muscular and militaristic" approach of the central government has driven the state towards the present "catastrophic" situation.

"Mehbooba Mufti should break her party's unholy and opportunistic coalition with the BJP. And go back to the philosophy of her father.

"The PDP-BJP coalition is the gravest provocation to the people of the Kashmir valley. Mehboobaji, quit the coalition immediately and go back to the people," he said.

The PDP-BJP coalition is the gravest provocation to the people of the Kashmir valley. Mehboobaji, quit the coalition immediately and go back to the people.

— P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) May 8, 2018

Chidambaram said he shared the Jammu and Kashmir chief minister's concern that statesmanship required to get the state out of the vicious cycle of killings but it was sad that she does not see that her coalition government is the core of the problem. 

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