Out of bounds
Not many Kashmiris will get to see and hear Zubin Mehta and his troupe perform at Srinagars Shalimar Gardens Saturday. The guest list is 1,500 names long but most of them have been selected by the German embassy and New Delhi. And even those invited from Kashmir have been recommended by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,taking the live performance out of the common man’s reach. As it is,separatist leaders and civil society members are already upset about the way New Delhi has been promoting the event.
Partners at war
Relations between the ruling partners are more strained than ever after National Conference legislator Mustafa Kamal,an uncle of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah,described all Congress ministers as corrupt and the partys state president,Saifuddin Soz,as a turncoat. Congress ministers have since threatened to boycott cabinet meetings. The partners contested separately in the Kargil Hill Development Council polls and now each is trying to wrest control of the council.
compared to 6.5 lakh pilgrims last year,only 3.5 lakh visited the Amarnath cave this year. Last year,pilgrims had complained about the shrine board failing to provide proper facilities. Some pilgrims who were unwell had died,leading to a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court. The board and the government strove to provide better facilities this time but the number of arrivals dwindled after a few weeks. One reason is the Uttarakhand landslides,which created a fear around the Amarnath yatra in mountain heights.