Srinagar, Sept. 2: Politics over Zubin Mehta’s concert in Kashmir is heating up with a hardline separatist leader today announcing a programme of protests against the show and chief minister Omar Abdullah coming out in its defence.
Omar also said he was not opposed to a parallel event being organised by pro-azaadi civil society members on the same day as Mehta’s concert in Srinagar “as long as it remains peaceful”.
Mehta’s Ehsaas-e-Kashmir (feel of Kashmir) and the J&K Coalition of Civil Society’s Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (reality of Kashmir) are set to be held on September 7.
After failing to convince the German embassy that is organising Mehta’s concert at Srinagar’s Shalimar gardens to call it off, Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani today asked people to stage protests after Friday prayers and observe a “civil curfew” on Saturday.
“People are being killed here and, through this concert, you (organisers) want us to forget our sufferings. This concert has no relevance… when people are facing the worst kind of state-sponsored terrorism,” he said.
While Geelani has chosen to protest the Shalimar concert, the civil society groups have engaged Kashmiri singers, musicians and poets to counter it. They claim their show at Srinagar’s Sher-e-Kashmir park will be a tribute to the “resilience and struggle” of Kashmiris.
Omar regretted the stand of those claiming that the Mehta concert will dilute the status of the Kashmir issue.
“It shows either their (separatist) leadership is weak or the (Kashmir) issue is weak that a music concert will affect the status,” he said.