Hundreds of seats were empty as composer and singer Adnan Sami performed live on the bank’s of Dal lake in SKICC Srinagar on Saturday evening. The entry to the government-sponsored concert was closed to the general public.
The entry to the event was by ‘invitation’ only and most of the passes were issued to police officers, bureaucrats, politicians and their families.
The show was organised by the department of Tourism of Jammu & Kashmir government in collaboration with J&K state academy of art, culture and languages.
Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju was present at the concert, besides few other ministers, legislators and senior officials. Interestingly ministers from BJP including deputy chief minister were did not attend.
Journalists, bank employees, officials from different districts, and workers of the ruling political parties, PDP and BJP, were present at the event.
“We were told to attend this function. Though there was no order from the government, but skipping would have made it a headache for us,” said a senior official from another district who was present with his family.
Students of some schools of Srinagar were also invited to the event.
“Our teachers told us that we have to go for this event. We were brought in a bus here,” said Adil farooq ,Class 12 student at Government Higher Secondary School, Nigeen.
On Friday evening, the General Administration Department (GAD) had issued an order directing top officials in the civil secretariat to be present at the event.
The order was issued for about a hundred officials, mostly from the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS).
“… officers are hereby appointed as Liaison Officers for the dignitaries including VVIPs/VIPs, in connection with the Musical Concert by Adnan Sami on 7th of October, 2017 at SKICC,” Order No.1277-GAD read.
Minutes later, the GAD issued another order, cancelling the previous one.
“In continuation of Government order no. 1277-GAD of 2017 dated 06-10-2017, it is hereby ordered that all the Liaison officers shall remain available at their respective place of postings instead of reporting to the Directorate of Tourism Kashmir or venue,” the new order read.
Sources said that most of the designated ‘liaison officers’, despite the cancellation of the order, were present at the concert.
Adnan Sami enthralled audience by singing various hit songs. “Koyi Tujhe Samjhaye Na/Tere Bina Jiya Jaye Na/Kashmir Kay Bina Jiya Jaye Na (Why doesn’t somebody convince you that I cannot live without you, Kashmir),” Adnan said.
The pause among the songs, Adnan talked about his affinity with Kashmir. He started by saying “aaj ehsaas huva jahanum kya hai, kyunki aaj Jannat dekh li.”
“I have a special relationship with Jammu and Kashmir. Not only that my mother belongs to Jammu, but also because my pursuit of classical music has been inspired by the spiritual and Sufist moorings of Kashmir.
“It is not possible that somebody comes to Kashmir and does not become a lover. Wherever I go, I spread this message of love.
He said this was his second visit to Kashmir as he had come here earlier to shoot a qawaali sequence for Bollywood blockbuster “Bajrangi Bhaijaan” at the shrine of Sufi saint Zainuddin Wali (RA) in Aishmuqam area close to Pahalgam tourist resort.
“There is a spiritual vibe in Kashmir and I believe nobody can come to Kashmir unless this land beckons him,” he told audience.
He said he was dedicating his famous song to Kashmir and its people, “Aay Khuda, Aay Khuda, Jis Nay Ki Justaju Milgaya Us Ko Tu”.
The security arrangements were unprecedented. The entry to the venue were divided on the basis of card. The three categories of cards were Platinum, Diamond and third one was for general.
Scores of police and paramilitary forces dotted the venue and all roads leading to it. There were dozens of duty magistrates managing the affairs, besides senior police officials.
Hundreds of CRPF were seen in civil and as per sources they were directed by officials to sit in front rows to show the presence.
Concert was also discussed on social media sites by some politicians as well as artists of Kashmir.
One of the music lover writes on his facebook” I respect u as an artist, but, u r the same person who once refused to condemn the use of pellet guns in Kashmir, in other words justified the use of the same… And a person who can’t respect his/her own motherland, can never ever respect mine… Rest, its just a money minting process n some fools (especially the artist fraternity of Kashmir) r welcoming you and I don’t know y…??? BTW, have a nice stay” said one of the famous Artist of Kashmir on his Facebook wall.
Concluding the session, Sami made everybody to stand up and join him in singing ‘Mujhko b tu lift karade.’ With this he left the stage.
Howeveropne of the senior official managing the show told Kashmir Life the empty seats were because “the media gallery was huge and there were less from the field. The people from general switched to sit there, with the result the general category seats were left empty.