Massive police bandobast ahead of the Operation Bluestar anniversary holds back tourist flow to Amritsar : The Tribune India

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Massive police bandobast ahead of the Operation Bluestar anniversary holds back tourist flow to Amritsar

Massive police bandobast ahead of the Operation Bluestar anniversary holds back tourist flow to Amritsar

Policemen stand guard outside the Golden Temple on the eve of Operation Bluestar anniversary in Amritsar on Sunday. Photo: Vishal Kumar



Tribune News Service

Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, June 5

Ahead of the Operation Bluestar anniversary, massive police bandobast in and around the holy city impacted the flow of tourists during the summer holiday season.

Barricades have been installed not only on roads leading to the Golden Temple, but on all major roads of the city.

Inderjit Singh, who works in the hospitality industry, says: “Summer holidays bring in tourists from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. They have not arrived here this time. Perhaps, continuous occurrence of violent incidents such as the RPG attack on the intelligence headquarters of the Punjab Police, murder of Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala and other incidents have sent a negative message of unsafe environment prevailing in the state.”

He said he interacted with some tourist groups, who were cancelling their advance trips citing some crime incidents happening around. He, however, tried convincing them not to draw their opinion from stray crime incidents being reported.

Satnam Singh Kanda, chairman of Hotel Association, Walled City, said it seemed a deliberate attempt is being made to create a fearful environment. “Around 6 am, I proceeded to the Sultanwind Gate to move out of the walled city. But the cops did not allow me to go ahead. It was only after I convinced them that they budged from their stand.” He recalled that, they did not even permit ice slabs inside the city a day before meant for chhabeel (langar of sweetened water) at Lakad Mandi Chowk.

He asked that in such a panic-stricken environment, how could tourists land here to pay obeisance at the Golden Temple? He said this weekend, 12 rooms were vacant in his 38-room hotel. Otherwise, the room occupancy remains 100 per cent each weekend. Similar was the scene in other hotels, lodges and stay houses of the walled city.

Rakesh Arora, a tour and travel operator, said: “The government, its different agencies and the opposition parties need to understand that tourism is a sensitive trade, in which repercussions are seen instantly. People from a wide spectrum of trades like hoteliers, shopkeepers, rickshaw pullers, vendors and others earn their bread and butter from it.”

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