Zubin’s music 'pains' Shalimar residents

Decry restriction of their movement, allege infringement of privacy

ARIF SHAFI WANI

Srinagar, Sep 8: When music maestro Zubin Mehta was conducting the Bavarian State Orchestra in the sprawling lawns of Shalimar garden here, it was not only greek to locals but “an insult to the injury” of people living around one of the famous Mughal gardens.
Stringent security measures for the much hyped concert Ehsaas-e-Kashmir drastically hit normal life of locals and “infringed” with their privacy. 
“Sharp shooters and cops intruded into our house and confined us to a room when Zubin Mehta was conducting his orchestra. It was like an insult to our injury and infringement into our privacy,” said a group of locals whose houses overlook the Shalimar garden.
“It was like listening music at gunpoint in a jail. The concert affected our normal life. We sent our children and womenfolk to relatives places in other areas to escape unnecessary harassment by cops and forces,” they said. 
The aggrieved inhabitants said they have never faced so much inconvenience during past over two decades of political uncertainty in Kashmir.
“The forces cordoned nook and corner of Shalimar and trained guns in all directions as if a war was going on. Though we could hear every note of the orchestra but it only rubbed salt on our wounds,” a resident fumed, saying he was not even allowed to stroll in compound of his house.
For the concert only those carrying special passes were allowed entry into the concert. A gathering of about 1,500 people, including diplomats and ministers were among the hand-picked audience.
 “We had no intention to be part of or listen to this politically motivated concert. This concert will remain in our memories only for the miseries it brought for us,” they maintained. 
The strict restrictions also hit the business of shopkeepers around the Shalimar garden.
“Due to heavy concentration of security forces for past fortnight around the garden to facilitate arrangements for the concert, tourists stopped to visit this place affecting our business,” said president of Shopkeepers Association Shalimar Ghulam Qadir.
The shopkeepers kept their shops closed for past three days to “avoid harassment.”
“We suffered huge financial losses due to the concert. We strongly refute the claims of the state government that we have been paid Rs 5,000 as compensation. We don’t want money but make a fervent appeal to government to avoid holding such concerts in Shalimar garden to avoid unnecessary trouble and losses to us,” the shopkeepers said.    
However, a senior police officer wishing anonymity said the stringent security measures were put in place around Shalimar in view of “some threats.”
“We did not want to take any chances and had to ensure security around the venue for smooth conduct of this high profile concert,” the police officer said.

Lastupdate on : Sun, 8 Sep 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 8 Sep 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 9 Sep 2013 00:00:00 IST




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