Srinagar diary

There are no cinema halls or theatres in the strife-torn Kashmir where people can watch Bollywood movies of their favourite stars.

Published: 26th July 2018 02:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2018 07:13 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Rath effect fails in Srinagar
Inspector General of Traffic Basant Rath, who is known as “Dabang” and “Singham” for his style of working, has come in for strong criticism from people for his failure to regulate traffic in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. After the capital shifted to Srinagar this year as part of the half-yearly Durbar move, people had pinned high hopes on Basant Rath, that he would help regulate traffic in Srinagar and bring respite from traffic woes. However, people by and large are disappointed as the traffic woes continue. People complain that Rath has failed to end traffic jams.

No cinema halls in Kashmir
There are no cinema halls or theatres in the strife-torn Kashmir where people can watch Bollywood movies of their favourite stars. There were about a dozen cinema halls in the Valley before militancy erupted in 1990. All of them were closed as the gun came to rule the roost.  The cinema halls were taken over by security forces, which converted them into security camps. The state government made some efforts to reopen some cinema halls in Srinagar, however, they were too closed some time after their revival following threats from militants and “lack of enthusiasm” among the locals. When some cinema halls were reopened, people mostly stayed away from them.

All-women bank branch in Srinagar
In a step towards women’s empowerment, Jammu and Kashmir Bank has set up the state’s first all-woman bank branch at Jawahar Nagar area in uptown Srinagar. The branch was e-inaugurated by first Lady Usha Vohra on July 16. On the occasion, she also launched special services and products designed exclusively for women clients of the bank, including Pink Gold Saving Scheme, Pink Platinum Saving Scheme, Special Loan Facility for Women Entrepreneurs, Pink Gold Debit Card and Pink Platinum Credit Card. The 13 women staffers of the branch were presented badges of distinction and responsibility by the First Lady. The all-woman bank branch would be run entirely by the women staff. It will serve only women customers.

Policemen thrash women
In total violation of the Standard Operational Procedure (SOP), policemen recently used lathis to disperse women protestors in uptown Srinagar. The women staged a protest at Barzulla Bridge in Srinagar to demand the body of a local militant who, according to his family, was killed in an encounter with security forces near the Line of Control (LoC). The women were peacefully protesting on the bridge, chanting slogans, “We want justice”, and “Hand us body of our son”, when policemen armed with sticks, anti-riot gear and tear gas guns reached the spot and fired tear gas shells. The cops also beat the women protesters with heavy bamboo sticks. Pictures of women being beaten by policemen had gone viral on social media. The cops have faced strong criticism for using brute force against the peaceful women protesters. The police action came a few days after Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, S P Pani directed his men to adopt people-friendly policing.

Fayaz Wani

Our correspondent in Jammu and Kashmir

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