Chairman of the Mushtaq Hotels Group and one of the most prominent hotel owners in Kashmir, Mushtaq Chaya, has expressed his grave concern over the recent wave of killings of civilians in Jammu and Kashmir by militants.

On Sunday, two Bihar workers were shot dead, bringing the death toll in the valley this month to 11. A day before the incident, terrorists shot a Bihar peddler and a carpenter from Uttar Pradesh.

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In an exclusive interview with CNN News 18Chaya spoke of how the recent killings could tarnish the reputation of the former state and affect local economic sectors.

Q) There are killings of innocent people in the valley, and because of that the manpower is trying to leave. What do you have to say about it?

I express my grave concern about the killing of civilians in J&K, including non-local workers. Kashmir has always maintained peaceful harmony between different communities, and these incidents tarnish the image of Kashmiris.

Question) In what lens do you see these killings?

Non-local workers come to Kashmir just to make a living, and targeting them is very unfortunate. Incidents like this will not only give Kashmir a bad reputation but will also affect the local economic sectors.

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Q) How will this affect the economy of Kashmir?

Our economy depends on a skilled workforce from outside of J&K, who work in many sectors. Therefore, if non-locals leave the area, many sectors will be affected, hampering economic activities here.

Q) Do you think that the killings will affect the tourism sector?

The killing of non-locals will also affect J&K’s tourism sector, sending a negative message to travelers. Kashmir is known for its hospitality and safety of tourists. Such incidents should be checked, or travelers will think twice before planning a vacation in Kashmir. Tourist arrivals surged after Covid-19, but these incidents could halt progress again.

Q) What kind of support do you expect from the government in the wake of these recent events?

We ask the government to guarantee the security of non-locals to help them feel safe and stop their immigration. Kashmiris living outside Jammu and Kashmir will also be at risk if such attacks on non-locals are not stopped. I express my heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims and pray for the peace of the departed souls.

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