Srinagar: Amid daily gunfights and shutdowns in Kashmir, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department organized an event Autumn FAM tour 2018 at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) to send out a message that “peace and harmony” prevails in the valley.
However, the performances in the event pointed to the troubled times in the valley.
On most days of this month, gunfights and strikes were occurring in the valley. The Joint Resistance Leadership had called for a shutdown call for today too. While the shops, educational institutions remained closed in the valley, without anyone knowing, JK Tourism held an event.
Except for outside the SKICC, the hoardings were missing on roads. The hoardings inside the venue read, “J&K Tourism – The harmony, Feel the magic in air”. All the people going inside were frisked at least thrice with their belongings being checked.
“Check for any knives, water bottles, oranges or anything of the kind,” a security member asked another.
The stage was lit with lights, decorated with traditional Kashmiri Waguv (mat), Kangri (firepot), Shikara, flowers, Lalteen (Lantern), Hay, Pitcher and Tonga wheels.
Artists from across the state performed on the stage in front of Chief Guest Governor of J&K Satya Pal Malik, Principal Secretaries, Commissioner Secretaries, HODs, Delegates and people from travel and trade.
Master Mohammad Abdullah Baqal, a 6 year-old Santoor player, after concluding his performance said, “Allah Meray Kashmir ko phir se jannat Bana de” (O God, make my Kashmir a paradise again).
This was Master Baqal’s first public performance.
Apart from Rashid Jehangir’s singing performance, sand artists from Jammu presented the Governor with a painting of his portrait. Dancers from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh performed their traditional dances.
A powerful dance performance on a controversial movie portraying the conflict situation in Kashmir ‘Haider’s’ song Bismil with lyrics “Kashmir ke paani ki taaserein, Khul gayi zanjeerein taqdeerein, Zinda hai woh zinda hoga, Mujrim bhi sharminda hoga, Hosh mai Aaja, Aye Bulbul-e-bismil” was also performed.
A local standing outside SKICC says, “We are pretty much with positivity and development but today the valley is mourning. They could have postponed the event in view of recent killings. Anyway, it is not an open event.”
Adding, he said, “But the message Indian Media will portray outside will do a damage to how Kashmir issue is internationally known.”
Meanwhile, three locals Javed Ahmed Reshi, Fayaz Ahmed Sheikh and Sajad Ahmed Bhat were felicitated by the Tourism Department for helping tourists.