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Opposition NC president advocates reopening of cinema halls in Kashmir

Opposition NC president advocates reopening of cinema halls in Kashmir

Srinagar, May 17 (UNI) Advocating reopening of cinema halls, main opposition National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah said the Kashmir valley is probably the only place in the world where people watch films on television. Cinema halls, wine shops and beauty parlours were closed in the Kashmir valley in early 90s in the wake of eruption of militancy. However, Dr Abdullah headed government after 1996 assembly polls provided financial assistance to some cinema houses which later reopened in high security Cantonment area and near civil secretariat. Both the cinema houses were later closed after militant attacks and threat. Dr Abdullah advocated reopening of all closed cinema halls in the valley so that people could watch movies. 'When cinema houses are functioning in our neighbours, including Pakistan, why not in Kashmir ? ' he told reporters at premier show of “ Sarghoshiyan”(conspiracy), a film based on Kashmir at S K International Convention Complex (SKICC) on the banks of Dal Lake last evening. Sarghoshiyan made under the banner of “ Imran Khan Productions” is the first Bollywood film premier show of which was organised in Kashmir. Dr Abdullah urged people from across the country and abroad to visit the valley to see the hospitality of local people. Appreciating Producer and Director of the film Imran Khan for making the film, he said it (film) presents Kashmir and its people in a very different and positive way. Tourists should come here and see that there is no threat to their life, Dr Abdullah said, adding that people of Kashmir have enough love for tourists and other people of the country. However, former Chief Minister and MP from Srinagar constituency admitted that there was political uncertainty in the valley which is one part of the Kashmir while the film will definitely remove the misconception about the situation here. He said tourists have been visiting Kashmir even during the turmoil but not a single guest was harmed and in fact locals helped them and assisted them. 'We have very good weather in Kashmir when it is very hot in other parts of the Valley,' Dr Abdullah said, adding that let people come and enjoy pleasant weather. He recalled that majority films were being made in the Kashmir valley until eruption of militancy in early 90s, when all cinema halls, wine shops and beauty parlours were closed because of terror threat. Three cinemas—Broadway in Cantonment area and Neelam near Civil secretariat and Regal cinema in the civil lines—reopened after government provided them some financial help. However, Regal Cinema was closed immediately after a grenade attack after a show. Later, Broadway and Neelam cinemas were also closed because of threat and due to very less reopening. Majority other cinema houses were occupied by Security Forces, including Shiraz, Palladium and Shah Cinema. Khayam cinema has been converted into hospital while security forces has withdrawn from Firdous cinema in the downtown. UNI ABS RSA ADG 1431

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