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HindustanTimes Wed,23 Apr 2014

Now, grand Mufti opposes concert

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, August 27, 2013
First Published: 14:19 IST(27/8/2013) | Last Updated: 19:01 IST(27/8/2013)

After opposition from separatists, it is Kashmir's grand Mufti Bashir-ud-Din, who on Tuesday appealed to German ambassador to India, Michael Steiner to reconsider holding the Zubin Mehta concert in the Valley.

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The music maestro is likely to perform on September 7 in the lawns of famous Mughal Garden, Shalimar Bagh.

Reiterating the separatists' stand, Mufti asked the German embassy to chip in for education and healthcare in Jammu and Kashmir instead.

Ironically, grand Mufti had made news last month after a video showing him enjoying a musical evening went viral.

The opposition, however, has not come as a surprise, for it was after he issued a decree against a Kashmiri all-girl band that the trio abandoned their musical pursuit.

While restraining from giving any religious diktat on the concert, Mufti said, "I had decided not to comment on the forthcoming musical concert in Srinagar and leave the decision to the people whether they approve of such activities or not."

He, however, appealed to the German ambassador to reconsider holding the Zubin Mehta concert in the Valley on September 7 and instead support education and healthcare in Jammu and Kashmir. "I appeal to the organisers to reconsider the decision," he said.

"I have been approached by many religious, social and civil society groups on the issue and I personally feel that holding such musical shows sends out the wrong signal that the people of Kashmir are prosperous and have the leisure to participate in such high-profile events," he said.

Mufti Bashir-ud-Din added that, "Since Kashmir is a disputed area, holding of such a concert would definitely send a wrong signal to the outside world."

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani and the moderate, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, have already opposed the concert. The German ambassador, however, had called it a cultural tribute to "Kashmir and its warm-hearted people".

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