Last week, the small park facing Ram Munshibagh police station looked like a parking lot. There were scores of people trying to identify their automobiles from a sea of 114 stolen vehicles which police recovered —51 cars and 63 motorcycles.
The total recoveries valued Rs 2,66,00,000. Seven car lifters who had divided Srinagar into different zones undertook the massive vehicle thefts. Police arrested 15 people, including four kingpins. Five police teams worked overtime to get to the gang and recover the stolen items. In a separate interesting development, police claimed they are closing in on a gang that had taken ATMs home. Recoveries, however, are yet to be made.


Fair & Lovely is a cream and now a scholarship for women. In a contest in Jammu, two young ladies from J&K – Laraib Urooj (Baramulla) and Monica (Rajouri) bagged this fellowship. Urooj is pursuing a Bachelors’ in Bio Science from Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi and the scholarship will help her enter research. Also a science graduate, Monika wants to pursue administrative services. Fair & Lovely had flown Brazilian novelist Paulo Coelho to talk to 219 selected girls in Jammu. Shaheeda Parween Ganguly, receiver of a police gallantry award, also participated.


For a long time, Bollywood lived there. Then in 1990 came the CRPF, which was replaced by BSF in 1993 and then again by CRPF in 2003. Initially, it was reel action and then real action. Firdous Cinema Hall in Hawal was attacked several times, leaving death and destruction. The latest from Hawal Chowk is that CRPF has vacated the building. Members of 162 Bn that lived in the building have now been posted in Kupwara. The premises are completely de-militarized, but symbols of militarization still exist – the concertina wiring, the bunkers, the fences and the road block systems. Now the larger issue is whether SRK will return to the haunted hall, or will it pave the way for a shopping complex?


The Sundance Film Festival is one of the major yearly events in the world of cinema. This year, there are more than 40 films to be showcased. One of them is ‘Valley of Saints,’ a love story set in Kashmir. It has been nominate for the World Dramatics category.  The film, directed by Kashmiri American filmmaker Musa Sayeed, had earlier won Film Independent and Sloan Foundation Producer’s Grant for the same films. The film, shot in Kashmir, is about a Kashmiri boatman Gulzar, who plans to run away from the war and poverty surrounding his village in Kashmir with his best friend, but a beautiful young woman researching the dying Dal lake leads him to contemplate a different future. Its cast includes Gulzar Ahmad Bhat, Mohammed Afzal Sofi and Neelofar Hamid.

At the peak of Panchayat Raj system, newspapers reported that the Panchyat Ghar at Nihalpora has been turned into a gambling den. Once upon a time, there was a watchman managing its security. As he disappeared from duty, so did the ceiling fans and the electric bulbs of this building. Now people dry up cow dung in its premises. The government is planning investing Rs 13 lakh on a new building that will replace this 30-years old Panchyat Ghar.


For years in tinsel towns’ fashion labs, it was the Kashmiri Pandit designer Rohit Bal who dominated Kashmiri fashion, especially the precious Pashmina. Now many others are following suit. Designer Manish Malhotra is one such designer who created a ‘vibrant summer line’ inspired by Kashmir. Malhotra now has an autumn line. Not much from Kashmir, however – only Kashmiri borders and fabrics. As Kashmir embroidery was blended with Western influences of crochets and laces with traditional chikankari works, it created a tamasha, a different one. Reports said some Kashmiri artistes were hired to create the new fashion sensation. Lina Tipnis is also working on some Kashmir designs.


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