Sheikh Abdullah Refused To Ban Alcohol To Boost Tourism: Farooq

Sheikh Abdullah Refused To Ban Alcohol To Boost Tourism: Farooq

5 December 2011
Kashmir Despatch


Srinagar: National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah seems to have thrown pigeon among the cats yet again. The youngest son of National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah Monday told a gathering that his late father did not allow a ban on liquor as it would affect the tourism economy of the state. He said: “The then PM in 1977 had proposed a ban on liquor but Sheikh Abdullah rejected saying that tourists come here, they drink liquor and revenue is generated.” The union minister for new and renewable energy while addressing a function organized to celebrate the 106th birth anniversary of his father at SKICC, here, said, “Steps like reopening of cinemas and liquor sale would boost the tourism industry in the state.” 'When we can have television at home, when we can watch pirated films at our homes what is wrong with cinemas then? 'Are not these functioning in Pakistan where there is so much fervour about Islam,' Abdullah said. 'The cinemas are not here, where will tourists go at night. Do you want them to stay inside the room?' Abdullah said. 'Are not these functioning in Pakistan where there is so much fervour about Islam,' Abdullah asked. Farooq said youth have to change their mindset of hankering around government jobs, but must explore opportunities in the corporate sector. “There is scope for training the youth in hotel management and skill development programme so that can earn their livelihood,” he added. Pertinently, it was Sheikh Abdullah, who during his chief minister-ship, had ordered a ban on movie screenings during Friday congregational prayers. “When Sheikh Abdullah was going to Dargah one Friday to offer prayers he saw a huge queue outside a cinema during prayer time,” sources in NC said. The NC founder stopped his cavalcade and was astonished to see the queue and therefore prompting the partial ban. The cinemas in the Kashmir valley, however, stopped screening with the eruption of insurgency in the region. Since then, a whole generation has grown up without its fix of the big screen. Now Kashmiris prefer to watch films in the security of their own homes, rather than venture to the local cinema. In the late nineties, when the security situation seemed to be improving, a few cinemas reopened, but only one is still managing to keep going. But critics, say the downfall of the cinema was prompted by the screening of Anthony Quinn starrer film ‘The Lion of the desert’ which many believe fuelled the armed struggle in Kashmir.


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