Welcoming the tourists back

Jammu & Kashmir is keen to highlight its stunning scenery over its grim insurgency reports Helen Pidd in The Guardian

Two years ago, the old city in Srinagar was the sort of place police would only venture into wearing body armour. A stronghold for violent separatists agitating for an independent Kashmir, it was at the centre of uprisings that left more than 100 people dead, buried along with dreams of peace in the mountainous north-Indian region.

How quickly things change. This week, carefree tourists lined up in the same streets for barbecued mutton tikka and steaming plates of rogan josh. The Nowhatta mosque, where in the summer of 2010 youths would gather after Friday prayers to lob stones at the security forces (an episode commemorated in graffiti on a nearby wall declaring the area Srinagar’s Gaza Strip), is to become a stop-off on an official walking tour focused on heritage, crafts and markets. more

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