In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless, and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

‘Manmarziyan’ filmmaker served legal notice for shooting over Thajawas

Srinagar, Apr 24: Shot recently in Kashmir, Bollywood film ‘Manmarziyan’ has landed into a legal trouble, with the tourism board objecting to its shooting over fragile and preserved Thajwas Glacier at Sonmarg.
As per reports, Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Board has sent a legal notice to the filmmaker for shooting and using vehicles in the prohibited area of the glacier.
The film crew including the lead actors Abhishek Bachan and Tapsee Pannu wrapped up their shooting in Kashmir the last week.
The film is directed by Anurag Kashyap and is expected to be released in September.
Reports said the tourism board has asked the filmmaker to explain their reasons for violating the state’s environmental norms.
Faiz Bakshi, a tourism player, said he would also submit an application in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on May 9 over the “violation of its orders”.
“At least 20 vehicles have been used by the crew for shooting at the glacier. It is an ecologically-fragile place and administration should not have allowed them to shoot there,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
Bakshi said the crew also ignored the signboards and fencing installed around the glaciers to keep out the vehicles.
“At least five departments are working in coordination to preserve it which includes District Magistrate, Department of Tourism, Sonmarg Development Authority, Department of Wildlife Protection in Kashmir, and the cops,” he said.
Tourism Department, however, claims that they had only allowed in the plains.
“We gave them the permission to show at landscapes like Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonmarg. There wasn’t any mention about shooting over glaciers. The permission for glacier is given by the Wild Life Department,” Director Tourism, Mahmood Ahmad Shah, told The Kashmir Monitor.
He said that they have directed for the use of battery-operated vehicles for filming purpose.
The Wild Life Department officials said the department has given the permission to the crew as per high court guidelines.
“They last time sought permission and we have went as per high court guidelines. The High Court guidelines say that the vehicles can be used if permitted by the department concerned,” said Wild Life Warden Central, Imtiyaz Ahmad Lone.
The Department of Earth Sciences at Kashmir University last year in September informed the High Court that Thajwas glacier was receding at an alarming rate of three square kilometers every year.
In a report, the department had said that 338 square kilometers of the glacier has receded over the last three decades.
It said that unabated pollution from motor vehicles and burning of woods have drastically added black carbon to the glacier which has resulted in its melting.
It suggested that there was an immediate need to end the vehicular traffic and burning of woods besides removal of makeshift tea-stalls.