German music maestro Zubin Mehta's concert is in for a major showdown as protests against the event picked up today. Separatist Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asiya Andrabi asked locals living near Shalimar Bagh, where concert is scheduled to be held tomorrow, to use public address system and raise anti-India slogans.
"People living in Shalimar garden should play pro-Kashmir songs and raise anti-India slogans," said Andrabi.
She alleged that "Not only Zubin Mehta is in good books of Israel but is director of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as well and that country is responsible for killing innocent Muslims".
Meanwhile, separatist Syed Ali Geelani has also called for a shutdown tomorrow.
Pakistan-occupied Kashmir-based militant conglomerate United Jihad Council, headed by Syed Salahuddin, has supported Geelani's shutdown call.
(The poster of parallel event 'Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir' organised by civil society group to
counter Zubin Mehta show. Waseem Andrabi/HT)
"The concert is like rubbing salt to the wounds of Kashmiri people. The attitude of German rulers is regrettable. They want to give this impression to the world that freedom movement in Kashmir has ended," Salahuddin.
On the call of Geelani, who had asked for protests after Friday prayers, dozens of students held a demonstration at Kashmir University. "We will never forget our martyrs," said a protester, while raising anti-India slogans.
Students were carrying placards asking Mehta to leave Kashmir. Several graffiti has also come up in Srinagar reading "Go Zubin Go".
(Most of the Srinagar walls read the slogan 'No to Zubin, no to Israel'. Waseem Andrabi/HT)
Tempers are running high in Srinagar as the administration is dilly dallying permission to the parallel concert, Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir, organised by civil society groups in protest to Mehta's Ehsaas-e-Kashmir. The civil society described Mehta's concert "highly political with intention to undermine disputed nature of Kashmir and sufferings of its people".
"We came to know through the media that the government had queries about our concert. I called up the divisional commissioner to know about them. I was told that we should give details of guest list, transportation and parking arrangements," said Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir spokesperson Khurram Pervez.
"It seems they will not allow us. They are trying to use technicalities as ruse to disallow our concert. It is a shame for chief minister Omar Abdullah. This was a peaceful protest where Kashmir art and culture was promoted to make a point. But Abdullah made it clear who are ruling the state. It is intelligence agencies and police and not Abdullah who decided whether to allow cultural shows or not," said Pervez.
"Our stand that this event is political stands vindicated," he added.