The Jammu and Kashmir government has deployed teams of well-trained snipers and sharp shooters all around Srinagar’ Shalimar Bagh to ensure that Zubin Mehta’s musical concert passes off unhindered by separatists’ shutdown.
The show named Ehsaas-e-Kashmir, being organized by German ambassador to India Michael Steiner, will shortly begin with a galaxy of politicians, Bollywood stars and India’s who’s who sitting in the audience.
Only those carrying special passes will be allowed entry into the concert, which is expected to have a gathering of about 1,500 people, including government ministers and diplomats.
Separatists have opposed the holding of the concert saying it will be used by government of India to "cover up the human rights violations and weaken the Kashmir issue".
However, J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah accused these groups of double standard saying they didn’t protest when Pakistan band Junoon performed in the city.
"These (separatists) people are selective. This is not the first music concert in Kashmir. If music is anti-Islam, against the issue of Kashmir, how come Junoon came and performed here," he said.
The Pakistani band had performed in the city in May 2008. Omar said the controversy about the concert has been blown out of proportion.
"We are obviously very selective in what we want to oppose and what we want to support. As far as I am concerned, this is a concert that is exposing the people of the state to this type of music and it also exposes the larger world to Jammu and Kashmir. This cannot be a bad thing," he added.
(With inputs from Agencies)