Around 300 students and members of the faculty from the University of Kashmir, who had been selected to attend Zubin Mehta's ‘Ehsaas e-Kashmir’ concert at the Shalimar Bagh on Saturday evening, have been left out of the guest list.
According to sources, just seven officials from the university would now attend the performance. These include Vice Chancellor Prof Talat, Registrar Prof Zaffa Rishi, Dean Students Welfare Dr Neelofar Khan. Sources said that the invitations to students and other faculty members was curtailed following "negative inputs from security and intelligence agencies" as the state government feared "an anti-national demonstration" at the concert. The decision was taken two days before the invitation cards were supposed to be delivered.
The list of the university nominees was replaced by about 400 students and teachers from three public schools and some government schools. Arrangements were underway for safe transportation of the 300 invited students and over a hundred teachers.
Srinagar Deputy Commissioner Farooq Shah said of the 2000 expected participants, 1500 would be from Kashmir valley, 500 from Jammu, Delhi and Mumbai and around a 100 from different foreign missions. He denied claims made by separatists that most of the audience would be non-Kashmiris.
The group of 17 Indian musicians, that will open the concert with a seven-minute composition of Abhay Rustum Sopori, comprises of 15 Kashmiri artists and two from Delhi, Gulu and Abid. Local artists Shabir Ahmed Ahangar, Mohammad Yasin and Zahoor Bhat will play the sarangi with Abid from Delhi. Abdul Rashid Shah, Mohammad Hussain Shah and Ashfaq Ahmad Shah will play the tumbaknari with Gulu from Delhi, Zahoor Ahmad, Waseem Akram Shah and Khursheed Ahmad Shah will play the nout and Abdul Majid Shah, Mohammad Maqbool Shah and Nazir Ahmad Shah will be on the rabab.
Habba Khatoon's popular melodies "Tsoulhamou roshay roshay" and "Tse kamiu soni miani" besides Rusul Mir's "Rind poshmaal gindnay" and " Lalas wantase chhus sawaal" will, for the first time, be played by an international orchestra with the participation of the Kashmiri artists.