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Debate: CM backs concert, separatists oppose - 1
In a debate moderated by TIMES NOW's Anand Narasimhan and Sanket Upadhyay, panelists -- Dr Mehboob Beig, Senior Leader & MP, Lok Sabha, NC; Ashoke Pandit, Filmmaker and Social Activist; Zila Khan, Sufi Singer; Junaid Mattu, Spokesperson, J & K People's Conference; and Naeem Khan, Separatist Leader -- discuss the issue of Kashmiri separatists opposing the Zubin Mehta Concert and whether by opposing they have proved that they are completely disjointed from the pulse of the people.The stage is set for internationally-renowned conductor Zubin Mehta's maiden performance in Kashmir tomorrow (Sep 7) as authorities have beefed up the security around the venue following threats by little-known militant outfits. Mehta arrived in Srinagar today, along with his wife, for conducting the Munich-based Bavarian State Orchestra at Ehsaas-e-Kashmir (Feel of Kashmir), organised in Kashmir by German Embassy in New Delhi. ) "I didn't choose Kashmir, Kashmir chose me." his is how renowned international music conductor Zubin Mehta reacted brushing aside controversies over his concert on the banks of the Dal lake in Srinagar tomorrow. Mehta, an Indian-origin maestro in western classical music who conducts Bavarian State Orchestra, refused to comment controversies surrounding the performance of his troupe in Shalimar Bagh gardens saying he was just here to play music. Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah accused separatist groups of double standards for opposing a concert by renowned conductor Zubin Mehta, saying no one protested when Pakistani 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. "Nobody raised any voices on that ... Then there should have been a shutdown for Junoon also," he told reporters after reviewing arrangements for Mehta's concert tomorrow at Shalimar Mughal Garden on the banks of Dal Lake. 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. Separatists have opposed the holding of the concert in which Mehta will conduct the Bavarian State Orchestra, saying it will be used by Government of India to "cover up the human rights violations and weaken the Kashmir issue". Omar said since there were security and other issues involved with the event, he "felt it necessary to go and see myself how things are".
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