The circus is set to return to the Kashmir valley after almost three decades. A Ludhiana-based circus troupe would travel around Kashmir for nearly three months, entertaining people who have witnessed terrorism at its peak.
The circus would be staged on the ground of the Bemina boys hostel, nearly 3km from Lal Chowk, which has witnessed several terror attacks. The group would also perform at Chadoora village in Budgam district, which has been a hotspot of terror activities. Chadoora is close to Soibugh, the birthplace of Sayeed Salahuddin, head of the United Jihad Council, which operates from Pakistan.
Bipan Jindal, managing director of New Apollo Circus, said, "The circus used to be held in Kashmir till the mid-1980s before armed insurgency brought it to a halt," said Jindal, who last staged a circus in Srinagar in 1985.
"Now, 28 years later, we would entertain residents of the terror-hit valley," he said.
In view of the tourist season, Jindal is hopeful that people would come in droves to watch the circus, which would feature rides, magic shows, cultural programmes and other events.
"We have a 150-strong troupe, including Punjabi, Manipuri, Bengali and Russian performers," he said.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has granted permission to the circus and made an assurance of adequate security arrangements. The district police have also given the go-ahead to the troupe.
Jindal's friend and Budgam resident Mohammad Altaf Mir, who would be part of the circus, told HT on the phone, "Valley residents have seen people dying in bomb blasts and encounters. It is great news that the circus would be back in the valley after a long gap," said Altaf.
The circus equipment would be despatched to Srinagar from Ludhiana within two days. The performances would start about 10 days later.