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'All is welcome here': Hotels in Kashmir offer free stay and food to stranded tourists

Many local hotels and houseboat owners in Srinagar offer a free stay and food to the stranded passengers in Kashmir.

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Amrita Kesari

Updated: Feb 28, 2019, 12:13 AM IST

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At a time when a fight between India and Pakistan is escalating in the airspace, Kashmiris have yet again come forward with their goodwill gestures. Civilian air traffic from Srinagar, Jammu and Leh airports was suspended and highway remains closed in the wake of increasing tensions between India and Pakistan. Many local hotels and houseboat owners in Srinagar offered a free stay and food to the stranded passengers in Kashmir. Srinagar airport for civilian flights on Wednesday.  

A number of posts can be seen on social websites, Facebook, Twitter offering free accommodation and food for every tourist who is stuck in Srinagar in the present situation. Hotel owners came forward to help on social media by posting their addresses and contact numbers. They offered help to tourists stranded in Kashmir till the situation gets back to normal.  

As tension between India and Pakistan mounted following the violation of Indian airspace by Pak Air Force's fighter jets, both countries closed down several airports, most of them near the border. Srinagar, Jammu and Leh airports were among five airports closed for civilian air traffic shortly after an IAF jet crashed in Kashmir's Budgam district, officials said. Airports at Chandigarh and Amritsar were among those closed, according to airline officials. 

In Srinagar, an official of the Airports Authority of India told PTI, "The civilian air traffic has been suspended temporarily in view of the emergency". While the official did not specify the nature of the emergency, it is believed the step was taken in view of an IAF jet crashing in Budgam district this morning. 

Hundreds of taxis stood idle at the main railway station of Jammu, the winter capital of the state after Pakistan said it carried out air strikes in India and shot down two Indian jets on Wednesday, a day after Indian warplanes struck inside Pakistan for the first time since a war in 1971.

"My wife is really scared and has been calling me back," Brajesh Prasad, who works at a white limestone factory near Jammu, told Reuters outside the emergency ticket counter at the railway station, as he sought to catch a train back to his village in Uttar Pradesh state.

"I first came here two years ago but decided last night it's no longer safe to remain here. I know there would be no work back home for me, it's not even the planting or harvest season to get some farm work." Prasad was leaving with a group of seven other men who worked together in Jammu and Kashmir. 

(With inputs from PTI) 

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