Friday, September 23, 2011

Checking In

Due to terror attacks India has made it mandatory for all hotels to check and preserve a copy of photo identity cards of its guests. When I landed in Srinagar, my driver straightaway took me from the airport to Shah Abbas, facing the picturesque Dal Lake. My room had been already booked through my friend Aamir. (Thank you Aamir for the wonderful travel plan you made for us.) As I reached the reception they asked me to fill a form mentioning my name, where I come from etc. When I took out my photo identity card to give it to them, they said they do not require it. I said, "But is it not mandatory that the visitors' ID cards must be checked and preserved?" The manager replied, "That is only in India, not in Kashmir. We want people to come, stay with us and spend time with us. So we do not harass people." It is surprising at the way he distinguished between India and Kashmir, and that in spite of so many terror attacks, (just couple of days before a bomb set in a suitcase had killed 17 people outside Delhi high court), this hotel had not learned anything. No wonder, at the same time, two young boys were detected to have sent e-mails claiming a particular terror group taking responsibility in the Delhi high court case, and the mails had been sent from a cyber cafe in Kishtwar in Kashmir, and the owner of the cyber cafe had not registered the names of the teenagers, although it is mandatory to do so. If money matters more than safety, we shall have none. (In picture: working in relaxed mode on the boathouse)

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