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Shalimar Garden thrown open for public
SRINAGAR, Sep 8: Having served as a podium for a controversial musical concert of Zubin Mehta, Shalimar Garden was thrown open for general masses here on Sunday.

Officials disclosed that lighting, stage, seating and other arrangements have been cleared from the Mughal Garden.

“It was a temporary arrangement and the dismantling of the same was started last night itself. We have thrown open the garden for public and everything shall be cleared today,” Sunil Mishra, director floriculture told Kashmir Times.

He denied the reports of vandalization of the Dewaan-e-Khaas and other parts of the garden.

According to the reports, a major part of the garden was vandalized with seating arrangements made over the heritage fronts. Iron and concrete planks covered the fountains dotting the central stream to pave way for the seating. A large portion of the heritage garden was white washed as well.

The defacing of the garden for a musical concern met criticism from large sections of society with economist Hasseb Drabu starting an online petition to UNESCO World Heritage Committee.

Convener INTACH, Srinagar, Mohammad Saleem Beig said he has no information whether the garden has been restored to its original form or not.

He said, “They will do it in two-three days. But I do not have exact information about it.”

Officials at the concerned police station said though the garden has been thrown open, some part of the arrangements put up for the concert have not been removed as yet.

Locals were seen visiting the garden, though in small numbers in view of the shutdown.

“I wanted to see what they had done to the garden. I had heard they had destroyed some part of it. I do see some changes there,” said Mohammad Isaq, who lives near Shalimar Garden.

He said many people from his neighbourhood visited the garden Sunday to look at the ‘remains’ of the concert that created so much controversy.

“Since we could not attend the concert, we were curious to see where they performed and how they had put up the stage. Some part has been removed but the arrangement is still there,” Parvez Ahmad, another local added.

On September 7, world famous conductor Zubin Mehta performed amid the elite audiences which included a handful of Kashmiris. Reportedly, an amount of Rs 100 crore was spent on the event.

News Updated at : Sunday, September 8, 2013
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