Zubin Mehta Arriving Amid Tight Security

Zubin Mehta Arriving Amid Tight Security

4 September 2013
The Daily Excelsior


Srinagar: Zubin Mehta who is conducting musical concert in Srinagar’s Shalimar Garden this week end is arriving in Srinagar tomorrow in a special charted plane from Germany amid tight security following opposition by the separatists to the concert. The workers and German officials are busy at Srinagar’s Shalimar Garden, built by Mughal emperor Jehangir in 17th century, to prepare the stage for Zubin Mehta’s concert, Ehsaas-e-Kashmir (Feelings for Kashmir). Police have restricted the entry into the garden and those who are allowed are being frisked and have to pass through metal detectors. “And from tomorrow the garden will be out of bounds and would be handed over to the security”, said a top security official. Top Police and administration officials are making frequent visits to the Garden to supervise the arrangements for the show that is being held for the first time ever in Kashmir. A top security official said that such kind of show is being held for the first time in Kashmir. “It is a biggest ever security exercise for us. Around 1500-2000 guests including Ambassadors of European countries, Central minister and bureaucrats are arriving here for the concert”, he said. The three tier security is in place in Srinagar city for the security of the guests and the venue. “The 15 kilometre road leading from city centre Lal Chowk to the Garden will be out of bounds for public on September 73, said a top security official. “The Dal Lake would be monitored by security forces using speed boats. No civilian movement would be allowed inside the lake at least three kilometres beyond the banks of the garden”, said the official. At a time when security is on alert ahead of concert, a group of unknown militant outfits have issued threat asking German Embassy to cancel the concert. “We will not allow the orchestra of Zubin Mehta to perform in Shalimar Garden. If the German Ambassador remains adamant on holding the event, we will target foreign tourists for which the diplomat shall be responsible,” Sami-ul-Haq, a spokesman for Al Nasireen, Farzandaan-e-Millat and Shuhda (Martyrs’) Brigade said in a faxed statement to local office of a New Delhi based wire service. A top state intelligence officer says: “I don’t think it is genuine threat. There is no specific militant threat to the concert. But we are taking all precautions for the international event and there would be no lowering of guard from our side.” Sunil Misri, Director of Floriculture who looks after the garden says: “We took up a major conservation and heritage revival programme at the cost of Rs. 3.5 crore to renovate the garden ahead of the concert. The work was going on for past 5 months. The garden was in dilapidated shape and this massive renovation is taking place after 40 years. The water channel and 114 fountains were made functional beside palace hall, main hall and gardens were restored for the concert,” he said. The separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Civil Society in Kashmir is opposing the holding of concert in Kashmir. A civil Society Group is organizing a parallel concert, Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir (reality of Kashmir) a few hours before Mehta’s concert at 5 p.m. on September 7,”. A meeting in this effect was held at Srinagar today and it was attended by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front Chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, Nayeema Hamid, Zarief Ahmed Zarief, Shakil Qalandar and others. The representatives of separatist organizations like APHC (M), DFP and National Front were also present during the meeting “We are going to organize an event on the same day which would be music free. All the writers and eminent personalities who have written extensively on Kashmir conflict and human rights violations have consented to take part in the programme and throw a light over the plight of Kashmiri people,” said one of the members of civil society present in the meeting Another member said that there is a need to confront the concert in a logical way. “We have decided to gather at Sher-i-Kashmir Park and find ways and means to take Kashmiri people out of trouble. We have no doubt suffered heavily and we must show a united face in the interest of the people of Kashmir,” he said.