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Omar questions Geelani's stand on cinema halls

The J&K CM, in his latest tweet, said: "Given that cable TV providers show all the movies that would come to cinemas & some that don't ;-) will Geelani ask us to ban cable now?". Tarun Upadhyay reports.

india Updated: Dec 07, 2011 18:12 IST
Tarun Upadhyay
Tarun Upadhyay
Hindustan Times

Chief minister Omar Abdullah has taken head-on the stance of Jamaat-e-Islami against opening of cinema halls in the Valley, which it feels is a source of propagation of obscenity and immorality.

Omar in his latest tweet posted on Wednesday said: "Given that cable TV providers show all the movies that would come to cinemas & some that don't ;-) will Geelani ask us to ban cable now?"

In another tweet he posted: "I would be interested to know how many Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) member countries (including Pakistan & Bangladesh) allow cinemas to function in their countries."

The war-of-words have started after the Union minister Farooq Abdullah at a function held in Srinagar on Monday had said that more entertainment avenues should be provided to tourists visiting the Valley. He had called for opening up of liquor shops and cinema halls in the Valley.

Farooq Abdullah had said there has been considerable improve of security in the Valley.

This statement had evoked criticism from some quarters holding ultra-rightist views, including hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Even MLA Langate Engineer Rashid, criticizing the statement of Farooq, had said, "The tourists do not come to Kashmir to drink or watch cinema. They come to enjoy the natural beauty of this place."

The same MLA had in the last Assembly session at Srinagar this year moved a private member resolution seeking clemency for Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

This year more than 8-lakh tourists had visited Kashmir. In Srinagar, there are already three liquor shops. A bar has also come up in a hotel. All of them are doing brisk business.

Hurriyat Conference, Geelani faction, in a statement issued on Tuesday said, "Islam declares liquor as the mother of all evils and orders punishment against those who consume it… advocating the opening of liquor shops in Muslim majority state speaks of the mental apostasy of Dr Farooq who despite his old age retains his mischievous character."

Cinema halls in the city have remained closed since the start of terrorism in the state in the 90s; however, local cable operators run Hindi movies and all other programmes are aired on private channels.

First Published: Dec 07, 2011 18:05 IST