Video: Zubin Mehta Concert in Kashmir Has Discordant Backdrop

Monday, September 09, 2013 - 06:00 PM

Zubin Mehta conducted the Bavarian State Orchestra in Srinagar Zubin Mehta conducted the Bavarian State Orchestra in Srinagar (Youtube)

A concert Sunday by conductor Zubin Mehta in Indian-administered Kashmir took place amid tight security and objections from separatist groups who are fighting New Delhi's rule.

The concert by the Bavarian State Orchestra was organized by Germany’s ambassador in Shalimar Gardens in Srinagar. Separatists objected that the concert served to divert attention from Kashmir's problems.

"We have nothing against Zubin Mehta ... no one is against the event itself. But it has assumed political overtures, as an attempt is being made that everything is normal and peaceful in Kashmir, which is not the case," Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, a separatist leader, told reporters in Srinagar.

Civil society groups organized an alternative concert in central Srinagar, where they were also showing photographs and giving speeches meant to highlight past years of violence and instability in the region.

Anti-India feelings run deep in Indian-held Kashmir, where about a dozen rebel groups have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. More than 68,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

The rebel groups have largely been suppressed by Indian troops in recent years, and resistance is now principally expressed through street protests.

The Bombay-born Mehta told the local media it was a "dream" to conduct the concert.

Below is a video of the concert (the broadcast starts at about 2:00 in):

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