Michael Steiner

michael-steiner-(1)The brain behind Zubin Mehta’s concert, Michael Steiner, German Ambassador to India is in news again. He recently inaugurated a mini solar plant in a remote village of Kashmir Valley donated by the German Embassy. The solar plant in Kashmir by German funding soon started a spree of criticism from separatist camp.

The Ambassador Steiner interacted with the villagers, visited the HELP Foundation orphanage, and handed over the keys of a 40-seater bus to the school in Kupwara.

“My ninth visit to Kashmir this year is part of our continuous social and civic commitment for this troubled place – from health care to education,” Steiner said. “Within our limited possibilities, we lend focused, sustainable support on a people-to-people basis. Our engagement is about striking a true cord with the Kashmiris.”

Pertinently, the German Embassy has been engaged in the valley for several years and it has so far funded the Village Health Camp in Mattipoora as well as the construction of an ambulant medical centre near Baramulla.

Meanwhile, coming down heavily on the German Ambassador for funding the developmental works in Kashmir, the separatist camp Wednesday accused that it is being done under a planned conspiracy.

“It is a global conspiracy to uproot the cultural values of Kashmir, and the donation of the solar plant and other social works done by Germany is nothing but the conspiracy,” Asiya Andrabi, the Dukhtaran-e-Milat Chairperson said.

Ayaz Akbar, the Huriyat Conference (G) spokesman stated that the people of Jammu and Kashmir must not be trapped by such moves and that everything in Kashmir is being done under the planned conspiracy.

“It is really sad that instead of expressing their serious concerns about the Kashmir dispute, the European countries have busied their selves with non issues,” Akbar said.

Shabir Ahmad Shah, Democratic Freedom Party chairman while expressing his concern over the German funding in the valley said: “The people here do not need solar lights; they need peace acceptable to them and the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.”

Interestingly, in 1998, while serving as Germany’s ambassador in Prague, Steiner was plucked by Chancellor Gerhard Schröder to work in the chancellor’s office as his foreign and security policy adviser. And in 2001, he was forced to resign after the so-called “caviar affair”. In March 2012, he was pronounced new ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to India.

Steiner, who was the brain behind the music concert of internationally acclaimed orchestra conductor Zubin Mehta in September this year, came under criticism for organising what the critiques termed an “elitist event”.

-Bilal Handoo

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