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Kashmir re-emerges as paradise for filmmakers

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Srinagar, Apr 29: Bollywood is again turning its eyes, and cameras too, towards its once-favourite destination Kashmir as with the increase in the footfall of tourists, film crews are returning to the Valley to capture the picturesque, shooting-friendly locales and rekindle the old romance with the place.
Of late, several movies have been filmed in Kashmir portraying the place in a positive way rather than focusing on the violence and strife. This year, so far, many stars, including Salman Khan, Abhishek Bachchan and Jacqueline Fernandez, have visited the Valley for filming.
Salman and his leading lady Jacqueline shot for the final lap of the third installment of action-thriller Race, which is produced by Ramesh Taurani. The crew after wrapping up shooting in the picturesque Sonamarg meadow in Ganderbal district in central Kashmir, started filming in the Ladakh region of the state.
This is the second time Salman has shot in Sonamarg. He filmed Kabir Khan-directed Bajrangi Bhaijaan at the meadow in 2015. Before Salman, this year Abhishek shot for director Anurag Kashyap’s Manmarziyan in the Valley.
The film also stars Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu. The crew filmed many scenes near the Thajiwas Glacier and Zojila in Sonamarg.
Producer and director Mahesh Bhatt is currently shooting in Kashmir for his next venture Jalebi. Bhatt would be shooting at several scenic locations till May 15. Another Bollywood filmmaker would be shooting in the Valley for a popular family TV serial Udaan.
The shooting of the serial would be held at Mughal Gardens, Shankaracharya Road, Nageen Lake and Downtown areas of the summer capital, besides popular destinations like Sonamarg, Gulmarg, Pahalgam, Doodpathri and Yousmarg. Besides Bollywood, the filmmakers from South India are also visiting Kashmir this season for shooting.
Annupurna Studios Private Limited is shooting for Telugu serial Maddamandaram at different locations in Srinagar, Gulmarg and Sonamarg. One of the favourite destinations for the filmmakers once, Kashmir was overlooked for several years by Bollywood after the onset of militancy in 1990 and over the years, few films which were shot in the Valley focused primarily on the unrest.
With the improvement in the situation, the filmmakers have set their eyes on the Valley again. Many films, including Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Jab Tak Hain Jaan and Ranbir Kapoor-led Rockstar were shot in Kashmir.
Last year, Neeraj Pandey’s Aiyaary was shot in Kashmir. Recently, a film based on Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai was also shot in the Valley. Vidhu Vinod Chopra also shot here, in March this year, a film based on Kashmiri Pandits.
Officials and stakeholders believe that filmmakers visiting Kashmir in droves for shooting would give a fillip to the tourism sector here.
“Filmmakers returning to Kashmir is a good sign for tourism. We are doing our bit to facilitate the filmmakers and attract them to the Valley,” Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood Shah told PTI.
Shah said the department has granted permissions to several crews to shoot in the Valley.
“We have issued several permissions, including for shooting of a South Indian serial. I am sure many more will come to Kashmir,” he said.
The director said apart from breathtaking locales, the administrational support in Kashmir, competitive rates and hassle-free permits are the biggest attractions for the filmmakers to shoot in the Valley.
“People walk into the office and get permission on the same day,” Shah said, adding single-window clearance system for permissions helps attract filmmakers… We are hopeful the films will help us revive tourism in a big way,” he said.
Shah said currently, a BBC team is also in Kashmir making a special documentary on wild vegetables that grow in the Valley, especially the edible Morels (Morchella) commonly called ‘Guchchis’ – an expensive variety of mushrooms found in the Kashmir forests.
The director said not only Bollywood, but the other film and documentary-makers have started visiting Kashmir to showcase the rich diversity of the place to the outside world.
Shah said the department wants to showcase all the aspects of the Kashmir tourism to the outside world.
“We do not want to confine our tourism industry to leisure tours, but we need to diversify and cater to all tastes of the travellers,” he said.


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BSF officer killed, 4 soldiers injured in cross-LoC firing

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Jammu, Jan 15: An Assistant Commandant of Border Security Force (BSF) was killed in a ‘sniper fire’ by Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC) in Samba district of Jammu on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, three BSF personnel and an army soldier were injured in separate incidents of firing along Rajouri and Kathua districts of Jammu.

Quoting a police official, news agency GNS said that Pakistan army opened sniper fire upon the BSF posts along the fence at around 10:50 am on Tuesday resulting in serious injuries to the officer identified as Assistant Commandant, Vinay Prasad.

 

He was immediately taken to a nearby health facility of army, from where he was airlifted to military hospital Satwari, Jammu, the official said.

“The officer succumbed to the grave injuries in the evening,” the officer added.

Meanwhile, three BSF troopers and an army soldier were injured, two of them critically, after the armies of India and Pakistan traded fire along the Line of Control (LoC) and international border in Rajouri and Kathua districts.

Official sources said that two BSF men and an army soldier posted along the LoC near Sunderbani sector of Rajouri were injured in the firing.

“One among the injured BSF men was identified as AnirbanChatterji, who suffered critical injuries and has been shifted to military hospital Satwari Jammu,” officials said.

The army soldier identified as Akash of 6 Jat Rifles and other BSF personnel, whose identity could not be immediately established, have also been admitted to hospital.

In another similar incident, a BSF trooper was injured when Pakistan troops fired on Indian pickets along the International Border (IB) in Hiranagar sector of Kathua district on Tuesday. The injured trooper has been taken to hospital for treatment.

There was a fresh exchange of fire between India and Pakistani army in MendharMankote and Balakote areas of Poonch and Kalal of Nowshera Rajouri.

In these areas, shells landed in some residential areas, following which the local moved to safer places.

An official of the BSF confirmed all these incidents and said that “our troops guarding the fence returned fire effectively and strongly”.

The officer said that in wake of growing incidents of ceasefire violation and sniper attacks, the Indian troops guarding the fence in all these areas has been put on high alert.

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Govt issues appointment orders to 921 medical officers

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Jammu, Jan 15: To augment health care facilities in the rural and far flung areas of the state, Health and Medical Education (H&ME) Department Tuesday issued appointment orders to 921 Medical Officers recruited on fast track basis.

To fast track the recruitment process, the H&MEDepartment had made relevant provisions in the rules and SRO, which paved the way for making the recruitment process a time bound exercise.

Pertinently, the department had referred one thousand vacancies of Medical Officers (MOs) of the Jammu and Kashmir Health and Family Welfare (Gazetted) Service to the J&K Public Service Commission (JKPSC) for making selections. After conducting the written examination, the J&K Public Service Commission finally recommended 921 candidates for selection as Medical Officers.

 

The H&ME department completed the process of recruitment in a record time of 3 months and issued appointment orders to the selected candidates.

Out of total 921 Medical Officers appointed by the department, 35 have  been  posted in district Anantnag, 18 in Bandipora, 58 in Baramulla, 28 in Budgam,119 in Doda, 33 in Ganderbal, 32 in Jammu, 52 in Kargil, 84 in Kathua, 46 in Kishtwar, 62 in Kupwara,  30 in Kulgam, 33 in Leh, 27 in Pulwama, 81 in Poonch, 56 in Ramban, 57 in Rajouri, 16 in Reasi, 08 in Samba,15 in Shopian and 41 in Udhampur.

Of these, 185 Medical Officers with specializations have also been posted in different districts of the state.

As per the Government order issued in this behalf, the appointees shall submit their joining reports to their concerned Drawing and Disbursing Officers (DDOs) within a period of 21 days and in case of failure to join within the stipulated period, the appointment shall be deemed to have been cancelled ab-initio without any further notice.

Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik, Advisor to Governor K Vijay Kumar and Chief Secretary B.V.R Subrahmanyam have conveyed their best wishes to the newly appointed Medical Officers with the hope that they will work with zest and zeal to provide best healthcare services to the people, particularly living in rural and far flung areas of the state.

The selected candidates can visit www.jkhealth.org for the selection list and to check the details of their place of postings.

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JNU case: Joint Hurriyat seeks withdrawal of charges against Kashmiri students

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Srinagar, Jan 15:Joint Hurriyat Leadership comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, and Yasin Malik has strongly denounced the sedition charges and filing of charge sheet by the Delhi Police against Kashmiri students pursuing studies at Jawahar Lal Nehru University (JNU).

The leadership said the charges will have serious consequences on the academic and future career of the students.

The Kashmiri students include Aqeeb Hussain, Mujeeb Hussain, MuneebHussain,UmairGul, Rayees Rasool, Khalid Bashir, Basharat Ali.

 

The leadership said the students only participated in the programme organized by JNU students Union in 2016 to condemn the hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged in Tihar Jail under shadowy circumstances without even informing his family members and in contravention to all established norms and rules.

The leaders said to book the students in 2019 clearly exhibit the vote bank politics of the ruling dispensation.

They said to harass the Kashmiri students pursuing studies outside Jammu and Kashmir is not a new practice, earlier in many universities and colleges Kashmiri students have been harassed  even beaten up, forcing them to drop the studies incomplete and return home

“The Joint Hurriyat appealed International Human Rights Organizations ICRC, Asia Watch, Amnesty International and other humanity loving nations to take serious notice of these nefarious practices carried out to ruin the carriers of the Kashmiri students,” a spokesperson of the amalgam said.

JNU Case: Delhi court to consider chargesheet on Jan 19

New Delhi, Jan 15: A Delhi court Tuesday fixed January 19 for consideration of charge sheet against former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) president Kanhaiya Kumar and others, including seven Kashmiri students, in the 2016 JNU sedition case.

The court put up the matter for hearing on the date as Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Deepak Sherawat was on leave Tuesday.

The Delhi Police had on Monday filed a chargesheet at a city court against Kanhaiya Kumar and others, saying he was leading a procession and supported “seditious slogans” raised on the varsity campus in February 2016.

Police also charged former JNU students Umar Khalid and Anirban Bhattacharya for allegedly shouting anti-India slogans during an event on the university’s campus on February 9, 2016, to commemorate the hanging of Afzal Guru.

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