Must-see tourist spot out of bounds for civilians

CRPF rules out relocation from Kubutar Khana

CRPF has ruled out relocation of its 144 BN stationed at Kubutar Khana, an island inside the Dal Lake, even as Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has directed paramilitary forces to vacate hotels and guest houses under their occupation in Kashmir in view of the tourist rush to the valley.
CRPF spokesperson, Kishore Prasad said stationing of CRPF at Kubutar Khana (island) was strategic. “They do patrolling in the area and are stationed there keeping in view the strategic importance,” he said.
Asked if they would shift from the place if an alternative accommodation is provided by the government, he said: “It is up to the state government to decide what they will do, but from our point of view the battalion will remain stationed there.”
Due to the presence of CRPF, the historical spot has been kept out of bounds for locals and tourists as well. The CRPF has raised a concrete structure at Kubutar Khana with concertina wires fencing the island.
All J&K Shikara Union president, Ghulam Ahmad Kollu said presence of CRPF in Kubutar Khana was a “blot” on the face of Dal Lake. “We want the CRPF camp to be relocated from here. Government gives statements about relocation of troops from hotels and guest houses but it seems they want to keep CRPF here,” Kuloo said.
He said they used to visit this spot earlier but later it was kept out of bounds for them.
“This place is very beautiful and earlier we used to go inside and enjoy nature’s beauty,” he said.
Kubutar Khana was occupied by paramilitary forces in early 90’s. The island falls on way to Char Chinari, which is a popular tourist destination.
“During the Dogra rule, Hari Singh used to meet his guests here and renowned singers would enthrall them,” said noted poet, Zareef Ahmad Zareef.
“It is part of Dal and should not be given to troops. Their occupation has marred its charm,” he added.

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