Kashmiris flock to rare film festival as violence ebbs

-File photo

A rare international film festival opened in Indian occupied Kashmir with a movie about an Indian protecting a Pakistani boy in the insurgency-hit state where cinemas are closed due to militants threats.
The festival, opened in Srinagar with Indian film “The Little Terrorist.”
The movie is about a 12-year-old Pakistani Muslim boy who mistakenly crosses the heavily-mined ceasefire line dividing Kashmir between India and Pakistan and finds a saviour in the form of a Hindu school teacher who hides him from Indian soldiers looking for a “little terrorist.”
The two-day festival, the first in occupied Kashmir, will screen a mix of 28 documentaries, short features and animated films at a highly-guarded convention complex on mountain-ringed Dal Lake.
“It gives me joy and happiness to throw this festival open,” said Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
Muslim militants banned cinemas in occupied Kashmir in 1989, though one is open in Srinagar under tight security albeit with few customers. The chance to see movies on the silver screen however was welcomed by many.
“It is wonderful to see films on the big screen. This is the first time I have had this experience,” said 23-year-old Javed Ahmed, a fine arts student.
The festival is being held during a time of decreased violence in occupied Kashmir.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2007