Kashmir is an international dispute which India does not recognize, but instead, uses instances like music concerts to depict normalcy in Kashmir, which leaves a negative impact on our valid struggle for the right to self-determination.
An Open Letter to German Ambassador to India, Mr. Michael Steiner
Requesting cancellation of the Zubin Mehta concert in Srinagar on September 7, 2013.
Respected Mr. Steiner,
On August 22, a press release was issued by the German Embassy in India that Zubin Mehta would be performing at Shalimar Bagh, Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir on September 7, 2013.
We, representing a substantial population of Kashmir, oppose the scheduled concert not because we detest music or because we are conservative. Kashmir has a rich history of music and culture. We do not have any problem with music per se, but Kashmir is not any other state of India, it is an occupied territory. Kashmir is an international dispute which India does not recognize, but instead, uses instances like music concerts to depict normalcy in Kashmir, which leaves a negative impact on our valid struggle for the right to self-determination.
We have witnessed serious human rights violations, most of which are acknowledged by the international community as well. There are more than 700,000 Indian troops in Kashmir, making it the most militarized zone of the world. How is it appropriate to hold a musical event when Kashmir is under brutal military occupation? Instead of organizing such an event, you and your country, Germany, should help us resolve the grave human rights violations. Germany should help us find the whereabouts of 10,000 missing youth, subject to Enforced Disappearances at the hands of the Indian forces in Kashmir. On February 23, 1991, at least 100 women were gang raped by 4th Rajputana Rifles of the Indian army in Kunan Poshpora. Decades have passed, but the people of this village are still waiting for justice. In the 2010 civil unrest in Kashmir, over 120 people were killed, most of them were school going kids and youth. The families of the victims are still awaiting justice. You should help us in cases like these by getting the international community involved, and you should show your solidarity with Kashmiris by building pressure on India to resolve the Kashmir dispute. You should put pressure on India and ask them to fulfill Jawaharlal Nehru’s pledge with the Kashmiris. That will help us. Holding a music concert will not. By holding the concert, you and your country, Germany, will only rub salt on our wounds.
Mr. Steiner, you are involving the political elite in the proposed concert, and the event will be held under tight security. There will be civil curfew. People will be caged inside homes. Children will not go to schools. The concert will not be an international show but an individual’s show. How can such an event help the people of Kashmir? Would it not be more appropriate to organize an event which will involve the common masses, where they could get an opportunity to express their perspective in front of the international community?
Instead of spending huge sums of money on holding the concert, you should try to help the poor kids who have been injured by the Indian forces in recent clashes. More than 100 youth have lost vision due to the use of pellets, slingshots and rubber bullets by the Indian army since 2010. You can show your sympathy by helping such kids. How are you helping these kids by organizing a musical concert? What would this musical concert mean to these kids?
Please note that the international events held in the disputed territory of Kashmir interfere with its disputed status. You cannot organize a musical concert in Kashmir and overlook the bitter facts. India uses these opportunities to hide the real truth about Jammu and Kashmir. We hope that the honorable government of Germany understands our problem in its right perspective reconsiders its decision and honors the sacrifices, sentiments and aspirations of the people of Kashmir.
People of Indian Occupied Kashmir.