After a gap of over three decades cinema halls back in Jammu and Kashmir as Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory Manoj Sinha on Sunday inaugurated two multipurpose cinema halls in South Kashmir's Pulwama and Shopian districts.
These cinema halls offer facilities ranging from a movie screening, and infotainment to skilling of youth.
LG Sinha was accompanied by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir PK Pole, Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) Kashmir zone police Vijay Kumar and several senior officers of police and civil administration during the inauguration of cinema halls.
"A historic day for J&K UT! Inaugurated Multipurpose Cinema Halls at Pulwama and Shopian. It offers facilities ranging from a movie screening, infotainment, and skilling of youth," the office of LG J&K tweeted.
Cinema halls were closed in Kashmir in 1989
Cinema halls were the first casualty of terrorism in 1989. Most cinema halls were either burnt down by terrorists or made to shut down as their diktat was against such entertainment which they called 'un-Islamic'.
Efforts of the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to reopen the cinema halls failed as terrorists tossed grenades inside the halls during show time.
The Valley had 19 cinema halls in Srinagar, Anantnag, Baramulla, Sopore, Handwara and Kupwara but now these have turned into ruins or are being utilized for other commercial activity.
The iconic Palladium cinema in the heart of Srinagar's Lal Chowk was burnt by terrorists and now the CRPF has set up its command post in its ruins.
A radical outfit Allah Tigers had issued a diktat for shutting cinema halls and liquor vends in Kashmir in 1989 and the call was supported by various terrorist outfits, including the JKLF.
The new generation in the Kashmir Valley now watches movies in the cinema hall for the first time in their life. The people of Kashmir have a craze for Bollywood and Hollywood movies.
Some of them who can afford to travel 300 km to Jammu are taking the opportunity to watch movies on the big screen in the multiplexes while others watch movies only on the internet.
The new generation of Kashmir is using the internet, DVD, USB drives, and various other gadgets to watch movies of their choice on TV screens and laptops. But this was not the substitute for the big screen of the movie theatres which they have not seen so far.