Pakistan govt to convert Havelis of Raj Kapoor and Dilip Kumar into museums

 peshawar (TIP): The ancestral homes in Peshawar of Bollywood legends Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor are now owned by the Pakistan’s local government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province, and will be converted into museums.

According to Pakistani media, ownership of both properties has been transferred to the director of KP’s archaeology and museum department, the Peshawar deputy commissioner announced. Raj Kapoor’s home was constructed by Deewan Basheswarnath, the actor’s grandfather, between 1918-1922. He was a police officer in British India. Though from today’s Faisalabad in Pakistan, he remained posted in Peshawar for quite some time.

Prithviraj Kapoor, Basheswarnath’s son, was one of Hindi cinema’s first big stars. After making a name for himself in local plays, he moved on to Mumbai in the late 1920s for greener pastures.

Raj Kapoor was born on 14 December 1924 in the same house. Shakeel Waheedullah, head of the Cultural Heritage Council of Peshawar, said the family of the legendary actor returned to the house a few times before partition to sell it.

Dilip Kumar was born Muhammed Yusuf Khan in 1911. His house was built by his father, who was a fruit merchant. Waheedullah said that financial losses forced his father to migrate to Mumbai, where the family looked to accomplish more. Kumar’s father sold his house in Peshawar in 1930 for a sum of Rs. 5,000. Since then, it has been sold various times and is currently being used as a warehouse.

Last year, the veteran actor had expressed his gratitude in a tweet to a Pakistani journalist, asking his fans in Pakistan to send him pictures of his ancestral home.

His tweet said: “Thank you for sharing this. Requesting all in #Peshawar to share photos of my ancestral house.” The KP Archaeology and Museums Director Abdul Samad said that the government would start restoration and rehabilitation of both badly damaged properties, before turning them into museums. He added that the directorate would also contact members of both families regarding the restoration work.

“In the past, only announcements were made, but no practical steps were taken but the current government took possession of the houses after completing all legal procedures,” Samad told the News. He added that the next step is to restore the two houses to their original condition and convert them into museums for which funds are available.

According to the government, Dilip Kumar’s house was valued at Rs8.56 million in Pakistani currency while Raj Kapoor’s home was valued at Rs10.5 million.

But Haji Lal Mohammad, the owner of Dilip Kumar’s ancestral house, had refused to sell the house for Rs 8 million. He had demanded a minimum value of Rs 250 million for the property. Similarly, the owner of Raj Kapoor’s ancestral mansion had also refused to sell the house for Rs 10 million fixed by the local administration. Ali Qadir had demanded Rs. 2 billion for the historic mansion. — IANS

Myanmar military court sentences two journalists to jail Bangkok (TIP): A military court in Myanmar has sentenced two journalists to two years in prison for their reporting, a move that has been decried by rights groups as the latest assault on the free press since the country’s coup.

Aung Kyaw, 31, a reporter for the Democratic Voice of Burma, and Zaw Zaw, 38, a freelance reporter for the online news agency Mizzima, were convicted on June 3 by the court in Myeik, a city in southern Myanmar.

The two had been charged under a recently revised provision in the penal code with spreading misinformation that could incite unrest, a charge that critics say criminalises free speech.

The convictions are the latest moves against journalists since Myanmar’s military overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in a February coup. According to Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, about 90 journalists have been arrested since the takeover, with more than half still in detention, and 33 still in hiding. The coup sparked massive civilian protests against military rule that have been met with a brutal crackdown that has left hundreds dead.

The Democratic Voice of Burma and Mizzima are among five local media outlets that were banned in March from broadcasting or publishing after their licenses were cancelled. Like many other banned media outlets, both have continued operating.

A statement issued by the Democratic Voice of Burma said Aung Kyaw was arrested March 1 for reporting about anti-junta demonstrations in Myeik.

A statement from Mizzima said Zaw Zaw was detained about two months ago at his home while covering events for them in Myeik and Dawei, also in southern Myanmar.

The news agency said it “categorically opposes the two-year prison sentence handed to Zaw Zaw and calls for the immediate release of all journalists unjustly detained by the ruling junta, including Zaw Zaw and another four detained Mizzima journalists”.

“Mizzima firmly believes that journalism and the right to freedom of expression is not a crime and that Mizzima and all independent Myanmar media outlets should be allowed to freely function in Myanmar,” the statement said. Family members of both reporters were not allowed to attend their hearing at the military court, but were allowed to talk to them by phone for a few minutes after being sentenced. During their call, Aung Kyaw told his wife to tell the media that he would not appeal because he no longer believed in the law under military rule. AP

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