Jammu and Kashmir’s first national film festival has been postponed due to the prevailing security situation in the Kashmir valley and is now likely to be held after the 43-day Amarnath Yatra that starts in the last week of June, officials familiar with the matter said.

The festival – jointly organised by the UT administration, Directorate of Information and Public Relations in J&K and the National Film Development Corporation – was to be held in Srinagar, the summer capital of the union territory, during June 15-20.

The Centre has asked the J&K administration to postpone the festival to after the conclusion of the Amarnath pilgrimage in August, the officials said.

Kashmir has seen a spate of attacks on civilians and targeted killings of Kashmiri pandits and migrant workers, following which security has been increased in South Kashmir and Srinagar. “We had sought a report on the security situation and were informed that it may not be advisable to hold the festival on the decided date,” said a senior central government official.

A top union territory official told ET: “Yes, the film festival has been postponed and is likely to be scheduled after the Amarnath Yatra is over.” The UT official, however, cited weather as one of the reasons for the decision, as several programs were scheduled to happen in the open.

Security agencies suspected that militants might try to disrupt the festival under which events were planned at various locations in Srinagar including the Dal Lake, Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre, Pari Mahal and Botanical Garden, ET has learnt.

The festival, aimed at showcasing the film, music and creative ecosystem in J&K, was to be a congregation of filmmakers and music artists. The J&K administration had invited nominations for fiction, documentary or shorts and music videos.

Security for the film festival was also discussed during the last review meeting chaired by home minister Amit Shah and J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha in New Delhi. “A large number of security personnel will be deployed on security duties for the Amarnath Yatra starting in the last week of June. Their deployment, drills have already begun and after analysing the threats it was decided that the film festival cannot be held between June 15 and 20,” said a second central official.

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