Three Bangladeshi tourists die in houseboat fire in India's Kashmir

By Rupam Jain

SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) - Three Bangladeshi tourists died in India's Kashmir region when some of the houseboats stationed in the picturesque Dal lake caught fire on Saturday, a police official said.

Police said a fire broke out in one houseboat in the early hours and quickly spread to other boats moored nearby.

"Three tourists Bangladeshi nationals were killed in one of the five houseboats destroyed due to fire," the police official said, adding that seven others were injured.

A preliminary investigation found the fire was caused by faulty electric wiring, the official said.

Government figures show the Jammu and Kashmir region received over 16.2 million tourists in 2022, a record high since British colonial rule ended in 1947. The area is known for its snow-topped Himalayan mountains, fast-flowing rivers, meadows and wooden houseboats around beautiful lakes.

The record tourist arrivals are a boon for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, which withdrew Muslim-majority Jammu and Kashmir's special rights in 2019 to integrate it with the rest of the country.

Hindu-majority India has been fighting a decades-long separatist Islamist insurgency in Kashmir, which is also claimed by neighbouring Pakistan.

(Reporting by Fayaz Bukhari; Editing by Rupam Jain and Christina Fincher)