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Valley glare on girls at fest

Srinagar, Sept. 15: Women medical students from Kashmir participating in a “cultural show” in Delhi have run into a storm with separatists and a doctors’ body opposing their move.

“This (the AIIMS college fest) is an obscene show where participants get to dance, sing and booze… this is immoral. My blood is boiling,” said Nissar-u-Hassan, president of the Doctors Association of Kashmir.

The development comes days after the Zubin Mehta concert in Srinagar triggered massive protests by separatists and civil society groups, who opposed the event on political grounds arguing international shows on “disputed territory” were unacceptable. Those criticising the medical students, however, deem their participation un-Islamic.

Hassan said 85 medics from Srinagar’s Government Medical College and Government Dental College had left to participate in the All India Institute of Medical Sciences’ annual “Pulse” show, which begins tomorrow. “Around half of them are girls,” Hassan said.

He added that the situation in Kashmir did not warrant participation in such shows.

“The current situation does not allow celebrations; we are in mourning,” he said, referring to the recent death of five people in CRPF firing at Shopian.

Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani said: “When I see some of my people, despite their Muslim traditions and identity, are on track to adopt a secular culture, I worry for their future.”

However, Dr Rafiq Pampori, principal of the Government Medical College, trashed the charges.

“They go there every year; there is nothing new in it. They don’t go there to participate in any cultural show but to participate in debates, sports and academic pursuits,” he clarified.

Although Geelani and the Doctors Association of Kashmir said they were against participation by the male students too, it seemed to be the girls’ participation that has left them fuming.

“The parents and the college administration have shown they are devoid of all sense of dignity by agreeing to send their daughters outside the state,” Geelani said.

He said the Hurriyat had taken serious note of the matter and was investigating it. “After the probe is over, we will make it public and those responsible would be asked to face an open trial,” Geelani warned.