The leader of Muslim separatists in Kashmir has called on the government to prevent Israelis from entering the region due to the Jewish state's "aggressive policy against the Palestinians," Yedioth Ahronoth reported Thursday.
In response to the Kashmir Tourism Department's decision to send a delegation to Tel Aviv in a bid to woo Israeli tourists to the region, the leader of the separatist Hurriyat party, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, said Friday that "although we welcome guests and visitors, we cannot accept agents of the Israeli intelligence agencies visiting Kashmir in the garb of tourists."
The leader claimed the flow of Israeli tourists and the road show in Tel Aviv are part of a plot to occupy Kashmir.
During a sermon at the Grand Mosque of Srinagar, he said, "How can the government invite Israelis, when they are expressly anti-Muslim and anti-Islam?"
"The government should explain why it's encouraging Israelis to visit Kashmir. Muslims all over the world have problem with Israel due to its aggressive policy towards Palestine," Farooq said, adding that there "definitely is some ulterior motive behind encouraging Israelis to visit the Valley."
According to the Southeast Asian News Agency, Farooq asked the state government to "come clean" on why the mission was sent to Israel.
He also said Israeli is bringing Jews from all over the world not only to settle them in “Palestinian territory” but also to occupy Jammu-Kashmir tourist areas.
Another Muslim separatist group made headlines recently when it demanded that tourists visiting Kashmir dress modestly so as not to offend local Muslims.
About a year ago the Foreign Ministry advised Israelis not to visit Kashmir due to the violence involving separatists and security forces, but the region has experienced a tourism boom since the beginning of the year after the fighting appeared to have subsided.