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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

J&K government yet to decide on parallel concert

Peerzada Ashiq , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, September 05, 2013
First Published: 18:43 IST(5/9/2013) | Last Updated: 00:21 IST(6/9/2013)

With the state government yet to give a nod to the Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir concert being held on September 7 in protest to Zubin Mehta's musical show, its sponsors on Thursday said the blame squarely will be on chief minister Omar Abdullah in case the administration declines permission.

 
"The chief minister had made it clear a few days ago that he had no problem with the concert. He cannot befool the people by saying that it is the local administration that has to take a final decision. If we are not allowed to hold concert, it will be construed that the CM himself had stopped the event," said Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir spokesperson Khurram Pervez.

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Several civil society groups have applied for a permission to hold a protest concert in the wake of imposition of Section 144, which disallows assembly of more than five people, in Srinagar. 

Mehta is scheduled to hold his concert at Shalimar Bagh, while a parallel concert will be held around 10 km away at Lal Chowk's Municipal Park.

The government held a meeting of senior administration and police officials on Thursday to discuss the issue of giving a nod to the parallel concert.

"No final decision has been taken so far. We have sought more details from the organisers. We expect a reply by Friday. A final decision will be taken after that," said Kashmir divisional commissioner Shailendra Kumar.

Kumar said the government will also assess the ground situation after Friday prayers. Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani has called for "peaceful protests" after the prayers.
However, Pervez said he has not received any formal communication from the government. "We will not change the venue or timing as all arrangements have been made," said Pervez.

The civil society groups, which are organising protests against Mehta's concert, have also take strong note of presence of Bollywood actors, industrialists and sports personalities at the event.
"It serves to build on the state narrative that seeks to dilute the reality of J&K people's aspirations. To build this statist narrative, an estimated Rs. 100 crore is reported to being spent and invitations have been sent to corporate India, the film world and sportsmen. It is most condemnable that Germany has chosen to be party to the Indian State's continued political machinations here," said a joint statement issued by the Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir team in Srinagar.


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Several Bollywood actors like Gul Panag and sports personalities like Sachin Tendulkar besides industrialists and ambassadors are invited to the show.

"Indian institutions have been organising psychological operations like Sadbhavana Operation here. It appears an attempt to outsource its psychological operations to the international community," said the statement.

The civil society group also condemned the government for blacklisting people and striking down their invitations.

"The oppressive state apparatus has swung into action. The people of Shalimar, and indeed Srinagar, are under surveillance and the invitees to the Zubin Mehta concert are verified by the intelligence agencies. Certain Kashmiri civilians have been blacklisted from attending the concert," alleged Pervez.

He claimed that a proposal to invite 230 Kashmiri students has also been turned down.

Pertinently, invitations have gone in the name of German ambassador Michael Steiner and his wife to all the invitees for musical show, described as an "apolitical concert for people of Kashmir."


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