Zubin Mehta's Kahsmir Concert Strikes Sour Note

Protests Greet Maestro in Indian-Controlled Region

Sour Note: Maestro Zubin Mehta leads orchestra in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The music was sweet but the concert set off strikes and violent protests by separatists.
getty images
Sour Note: Maestro Zubin Mehta leads orchestra in Indian-controlled Kashmir. The music was sweet but the concert set off strikes and violent protests by separatists.

By Reuters

Published September 08, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

A concert by renowned conductor Zubin Mehta in Indian-controlled Kashmir, where separatist groups are fighting New Delhi’s rule, was mired in controversy on Sunday, posing potential diplomatic embarrassment for Germany, whose ambassador organised the event.

The concert, on the banks of picturesque Dal Lake, went off peacefully on Saturday night amid heavy security to deter any attack by separatist insurgents in one of the most militarised regions of the world.

The event was organised by Germany’s ambassador to India, Michael Steiner, with the aim of reaching “the hearts of the Kashmiris with a message of hope and encouragement”.

But separatist groups protested against an event they said effectively legitimised New Delhi’s rule over the disputed state, and called a strike on Saturday to show their opposition. Shops were shuttered and streets largely deserted in Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state.

In the hours before the concert, security forces deployed in the city as part of a major operation by the army, paramilitary forces and police to protect the event shot and wounded a motorist who they said failed to obey orders to stop.

In south Kashmir, security forces said they shot four men to thwart an attack on a paramilitary base. Angry residents protested that those killed were innocent civilians. The shootings underscored tension in a region where New Delhi has deployed 700,000 security force personnel to keep the peace.

As Mehta and Steiner went on Indian television on Sunday to defend the decision to hold the concert in Kashmir, it was denounced from an unexpected quarter.

The event had not been properly handled and had become politicised, complained Nikolaus Bachler, the general manager of the 80-strong Bavarian State Orchestra, which played on Saturday to an audience of about 2,700 invited guests, including business leaders, government officials and diplomats.

The orchestra had been under the impression they would be playing for the Kashmiri people, and not, Bachler said, at an “embassy concert” to which access was restricted.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • According to Israeli professor Mordechai Kedar, “the only thing that can deter terrorists, like those who kidnapped the children and killed them, is the knowledge that their sister or their mother will be raped."
  • Why does ultra-Orthodox group Agudath Israel of America receive its largest donation from the majority owners of Walmart? Find out here: http://jd.fo/q4XfI
  • Woody Allen on the situation in #Gaza: It's “a terrible, tragic thing. Innocent lives are lost left and right, and it’s a horrible situation that eventually has to right itself.”
  • "Mark your calendars: It was on Sunday, July 20, that the momentum turned against Israel." J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis on Israel's ground operation in Gaza:
  • What do you think?
  • "To everyone who is reading this article and saying, “Yes, but… Hamas,” I would ask you to just stop with the “buts.” Take a single moment and allow yourself to feel this tremendous loss. Lay down your arms and grieve for the children of Gaza."
  • Professor Dan Markel, 41 years old, was found shot and killed in his Tallahassee home on Friday. Jay Michaelson can't explain the death, just grieve for it.
  • Employees complained that the food they received to end the daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan was not enough (no non-kosher food is allowed in the plant). The next day, they were dismissed.
  • Why are peace activists getting beat up in Tel Aviv? http://jd.fo/s4YsG
  • Backstreet's...not back.
  • Before there was 'Homeland,' there was 'Prisoners of War.' And before there was Claire Danes, there was Adi Ezroni. Share this with 'Homeland' fans!
  • BREAKING: Was an Israeli soldier just kidnapped in Gaza? Hamas' military wing says yes.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.