The Omar Abdullah government on Friday decided to allow a parallel concert Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (the reality of Kashmir) being organised by the valley-based civil society groups in protest to music maestro Zubin Mehta's concert ‘Ehsaas-e-Kashmir’ (‘feeling of Kashmir’) on Saturday.
"We have given the permission for the event. It will take place between 4:30 and 6:30," divisional commissioner Shailendra Kumar told Hindustan Times.
The decision came following a meeting of senior state and security officials to assess the ground situation. Despite opposition from some quarters, particularly security agencies, the civil administration decided to allow the concert.
Four official meetings were held to take a call on the rival concert. One meeting was even chaired by chief minister Omar Abdullah. There was no consensus yesterday with the officials dropping broad hints that they will not allow the show.
(The poster of 'Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir' organised by civil society group to counter Zubin Mehta show. Waseem Andrabi/HT)
"Our supporters are at the divisional commissioner's office. Nothing was handed over to us in black and white till 8pm. If allowed without any preconditions, we will go ahead with the concert," said Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir spokesman Khurram Pervez.
Civil society groups have invited students, folk artists and rappers to be part of the event "to highlight sufferings of people of Kashmir".
The venue of the rival concert is around 10 km away from Shalimar garden, where Mehta will perform. The concerns will start around the same time 5 pm when Ehsaas-e-Kashmir will begin.
Sources said the concert will be allowed but no law and order situation will be tolerated.