In a shocking and horrifying incident in Bankhandi near the Maa Baglamukhi temple, a minor altercation between local youth and tourists from Haryana took a gruesome turn, leaving a local shopkeeper critically injured. The assailants, four tourists travelling in an Audi car, attacked the shopkeeper with a knife, raising serious concerns about the safety of residents in this tranquil town.

The incident unfolded around 4 pm on a Wednesday when the tourists, en route from Dharamshala-Mcleodganj towards Kurukshetra, encountered an unexpected roadblock in front of the Bankhandi market. The situation escalated quickly as a verbal dispute erupted between the tourists and shopkeeper Vikas.

Vikas, who was turning his SUV towards his house on Naushahra Link Road, had an altercation with the tourists. The verbal exchange took a terrifying turn when one of the tourists produced a knife and ruthlessly attacked the shopkeeper. The assault didn’t stop there; others in the group joined in, using a baseball bat to inflict further harm on Vikas. Tragically, Vikas’s brother also suffered injuries during the brutal altercation.

Promptly informed about the incident, Kangra police reached the scene, managing to apprehend the four tourists responsible for the violent assault. The injured victims were rushed to Tanda Medical College for immediate medical attention. Vikas, in particular, remains in critical condition, battling for his life.

Confirming the disturbing incident, SHO of Haripur Police Station, Pawan Kumar, detailed that the injured victims had been admitted to Tanda Medical College and emphasized the severity of Vikas’s condition. The four tourists, identified as residents of Panipat, Haryana, were taken into custody, and upon investigation, a knife and a baseball bat were recovered from the assailants.

This alarming incident in Bankhandi adds to a concerning trend of tourists turning violent against locals in Himachal Pradesh. Instances of tourists wielding swords and attacking residents have unfortunately become more frequent, raising serious questions about the safety of the local population.

The Bankhandi incident is unfortunately not an isolated occurrence. In the past, a troubling trend has emerged, revealing that unruly tourists, frequently influenced by various substances, engage in aggressive behaviour, posing a threat to the serene communities that contribute to Himachal’s status as a favoured tourist destination. Instances involving the wielding of swords have been reported multiple times, resulting in injuries to locals.

Highlighting the escalating issue, Shimla police had taken proactive measures during the tourist rush on the eve of New Year, checking tourist vehicles at the Shoghi barrier and recovered baseball bats, rods, and sticks from the vehicles of tourists, indicating a worrisome trend of tourists carrying potentially dangerous weapons.

This revelation underscores the urgent need for heightened security measures and increased vigilance, not only in Bankhandi but across Himachal Pradesh, to ensure the safety of both locals and visitors. The authorities must take a comprehensive approach to address this growing problem, focusing on prevention, education, and strict enforcement of the law.

As Himachal Pradesh continues to attract tourists seeking the tranquillity of its picturesque landscapes, steps must be taken to maintain the harmony between the visitors and the local communities. The recent incident in Bankhandi serves as a stark reminder of the challenges faced by these communities, urging authorities to address the root causes and implement robust measures to protect the well-being of all residents and tourists alike.