Dark entertainment in the Kashmir Valley

Dark entertainment in the Kashmir Valley

For people who live outside of the Kashmir Valley, cinema halls are generally places of lively entertainment, abuzz with queues and excited talk of the latest blockbusters. In Srinagar, however, cinema houses are more likely to resemble military garrisons – either actually housing paramilitary troops, or with overwhelming security to keep safe those few theatre-goers willing to brave the anger of fundamentalist groups.

Since the late 1980s, when insurgency exploded in Kashmir, militant outfits such as the Allah Tigers have issued a series of morality-based diktats, ordering cinema owners to pull down their shutters. Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of the Faith), a women's separatist organisation, has long rallied against perceived degeneracy in Jammu & Kashmir, and has many times marched through the streets of Srinagar, attempting to ensure that cinema halls were darkened. Similar bans have been imposed on liquor shops and street vendors selling fashion and film magazines.

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