Cinema returns to Srinagar after 22 years

A top Indian government official inaugurated a multi-screen cineplex in Kashmir's city of Srinagar on Tuesday - more than two decades since cinemas there were closed. The cineplex will begin screening next month

"The government is committed to change perceptions about Jammu and Kashmir, and we know people want entertainment and they want to watch movies," said the region's top official Manoj Sinha at the inauguration of the city's first multiplex.

Indian multiplex chain Inox is establishing the 520-seat hall with three screens in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir that has been at the forefront of an insurrection by Muslim militants since 1989.

Srinagar had over a dozen single-screen cinema halls operational until then but a majority were forced to shut down after warnings from militant and separatist groups. The last cinema hall closed in 1999.

Mr Sinha also inaugurated two cinema halls in Shopian and Pulwama, two of the worst militancy-scarred districts in Kashmir.

He earlier said the Central government was determined to establish fresh economic opportunities in the region despite high security risks, civilian protests and military crackdowns that often lead to curfews and disruption.

The government has been encouraging local and international companies to set up businesses there after the region was brought under direct federal rule in 2019.

Last year, Dubai signed an accord to build infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir, making it the first investment agreement by a foreign government in the region.


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