Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha inaugurated a multipurpose cinema hall each in the twin south Kashmir districts of Pulwama and Shopian on Sunday. “We will build such multipurpose cinema halls in every district of Jammu and Kashmir soon. Today, I dedicate such cinema halls to the youth of Pulwama and Shopian,” Sinha told reporters in Pulwama.
Taking to Twitter, Sinha described the occasion “historic”. “A historic day for J&K UT! Inaugurated Multipurpose Cinema Halls at Pulwama and Shopian. It offers facilities ranging from movie screening, infotainment and skilling of youth,” he said.
Kashmir’s first INOX multiplex in Srinagar’s Somwar area will be thrown open to the public next week. It will have three movie theatres with a total capacity of 520 seats.
Asked if the government wanted to send out a message, Sinha said, “There is no message. This is an initiative taken by the Mission Youth under (secretary) Shahid Iqbal Choudhary.” The Valley had seen nearly a dozen standalone cinema halls functioning till the late 1980s, but they had to wind up businesses after two militant outfits threatened the owners.
Though authorities made attempts to reopen some of the theatres in the late 1990s, militants thwarted such efforts by carrying out a deadly grenade attack on Regal Cinema in the heart of Lal Chowk in September 1999.
Two other theatres — Neelam and Broadway — had opened their doors but had to down shutters due to poor response.