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Cinema Opens in Kashmir City After 14 Years But Few Turn Up

A paramilitary soldier stands guard outside the first multiplex cinema of Kashmir in Srinagar on Sept. 30, 2022.

AP Photo/Dar Yasin

A paramilitary soldier stands guard outside the first multiplex cinema of Kashmir in Srinagar on Sept. 30, 2022.

AP Photo/Dar Yasin

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Srinagar, India (AP) -- A multi-screen cinema hall opened on Saturday in the main city of Indian-controlled Kashmir for the first time in 14 years in the government's push to showcase normalcy in the disputed region that was brought under India's direct rule three years ago.

Decades of a deadly conflict, bombings and brutal Indian counterinsurgency campaign have turned people away from cinemas, and only about a dozen viewers lined up for the first morning show, the Bollywood action movie “Vikram Vedha.” The 520-seat hall with three screens opened under elaborate security in Srinagar's high security zone that also houses India’s military regional headquarters.