Hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called for a strike to protest against the Zubin Mehta concert, which is to be held in Srinagar on September 7.
The concert by the Bayerische Staats Orchester, organised by the German Embassy, has drawn widespread criticism in a state where the girl rock band Pragash had to disband last year after a massive hate campaign.
Mehta’s concert “Ehsas-e-Kashmir” (the feeling of Kashmir) has drawn flak both from separatists and the civil society for “turning the focus away from Kashmir issue”.
"What sense does this music show make? Does it mean that everything is normal here? People are being killed and through this concert, you (organisers) want us to forget our sufferings, forget the killings and the bloodshed," Geelani said on Monday. He appealed for a civil curfew and asked transporters and business establishments to join the “complete shutdown”.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah maintains the show would not affect the Kashmir issue and those claiming so were weak. “Everyone has political views, but music is in our culture. To present it (music) as outside Kashmiriyat is not right,” he said.
Separatists, including Hurriyat’s moderate faction leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, had opposed the show saying “Kashmir is not peaceful enough for such concerts''. The state's chief cleric, Grand Mufti Bashir-ud-Din, had appealed to German ambassador Michael Steiner to reconsider holding the concert.
Civil society groups have devised a devised a different way. Their protest involves holding a parallel show Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (the reality of Kashmir), which would be held the same day. The concert, they maintained, is aimed at showing the world the “reality of Kashmir” before they get a “feel of it”.