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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Zubin Mehta show: J-K youngsters a divided lot

Peerzada Ashiq , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, September 05, 2013
First Published: 18:16 IST(5/9/2013) | Last Updated: 19:12 IST(5/9/2013)

The sway of protest against music maestro Zubin Mehta's upcoming concert is gaining ground on the streets of Srinagar too, with very few youngsters supporting the musical show.

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"The concert and the security drill have only added to people's miseries here. Diversions, random frisking and traffic jams were not what the German ambassador intended when he said the concert is for the people of Kashmir," said Safwat Zargar (23), a mass communication student of Central University of Kashmir.

Baseera Rafiqi (22), an arts student of Kashmir University, sees the event "highly political". "Germany has been sending its groups to Kashmir to see human rights records. Suddenly organising a musical concert sends one signal: it is satisfied with the situation in the state. We have hundreds of half-widows (those women whose husbands disappeared in the last two decades) and thousands of orphans. We are in pain. We want the world to heal our wounds by justice but not by highly-political musical shows," she said.

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Peerzada Ibtihaj (18), a Class-12 student of Iqbal Memorial School, is supporting the rival concert, Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir, to be organised by civil society groups in protest to Mehta's concert.

"The protest concert should remind Germany of its responsibilities as a democratic nation. It cannot overlook the suffering of people of Kashmir and the political nature of the state and blow a bugle of normalcy," said Ibtihaj.

However, there are several people like Gowhar Geelani, a columnist, who see nothing wrong in Mehta holding a concert. "Kashmir struggle is not fragile enough to be overshadowed by a musical concert. People of Kashmir are music lovers. Our weddings are incomplete without song and music. Let's not give this impression to the outside world that Kashmir is intolerant and cannot play a decent host," said Geelani.

There are also strong voices against hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani's call for a shutdown on September 7. "I think there was no need to call for a shutdown. The civil society groups are already highlighting the matter by holding a counter concert," said P Wasim, a student.

Dozens of youngsters have approached the organisers to attend the concert, being held at Shalimar garden, with around 1,500 guests, mainly locals, scheduled to attend.

"I have been looking for a card for two weeks. I failed to get one despite using all influence," said a young entrepreneur of Srinagar on the condition of anonymity.


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