Season Of Trending Iftaar Parties, A New Sign Of ‘Peace’ In Kashmir

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Srinagar, July 1: At a time when the coalition government has been facing heat over controversies including proposed allotment of land to outsiders and revival of militancy, the trending Iftaar parties here have emerged as a new sign of peace in Kashmir.

This Ramzan it has been a season of unending high-profile Iftaar parties. The partying, has been so blooming, that invitees, mostly who’s who of Kashmir, often end up in a fix on whom to please and whom not to as most of the hosts happen to typically high profile people: the powerful and mighty.

There has been no looking back ever since the opener by Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti at the sprawling lawns of SKICC on the banks of Dal Lake with over 3000 guests turning up for the event.

During the past week, partying has been on a sudden rise. From government top-brass to Kashmir Inc, many including event-management companies are almost in a race to do the honours.

Loud Beetle, an event management agency, with support of some leading business houses and the government, held a mega party at the Polo Ground, claiming over 4000 people turned up at the mega event where entry was free for all. Another major outdoor party was thrown by tourism players on the banks of Dal Lake.

The Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation President, Muhammad Yasin Khan, threw a party for the representatives from various districts at Lala Rukh hotel. The KTMF, however, remained conspicuous for not inviting any politicians or officials to break the bread.

Prior to this, Chief Minister’s Advisor, Amitabh Mattoo, threw a party at his Gogji Bagh residence, whereas on the same day another Iftaar was hosted by Additional Director General of Police(ADGP), S M Sahai in the compound of his office.

Sahai, who was hosting a parallel event later turned up at Mattoo’s party as well. Interestingly, Sahai, holds the distinction of being the only non-Muslim official, who ‘religiously observes fasting’ in Ramazan, and doesn’t miss to host Iftaar parties, something often acknowledged in media reports.

Though partying this year has been on rise, it was a paradigm shift in the government convention. Till last year, only media persons would be invited for Iftaar partying, while this year people from all walks of life were equally invited.

From the CM to her Advisor, the same held true almost everywhere.

At Mattoo’s party, it was a blend of media persons and PDP members know to him. Interestingly at this party, some of the media persons remained conspicuous for staying glued to Saadut Hussain, known for his controversial Twitter handle @IbnBattuta, which he then used against the previous National Conference led coalition.

The PDP government subsequently elevated Hussain, a J&K Bank official, as Executive Officer Jammu and Kashmir E Governance Agency. “Though his elevation initially drew criticism on social media with many media persons taking dig at him, Iftaar party reflected a different scene,” quipped a senior journalist who saw his colleagues “glued to @IbnBattutta.”

However, the Director General of Police, K Rajendra Kumar, upheld the convention of exclusively inviting media persons, alongside police officials to Iftaar party, held at the officer’s mess at Shiv Pora.

On Friday, there were again two major parties in the City, this time booth being hosted by business groups. “I am confused which one to attend as both are being hosted by influential people,” said an invitee.

Observers look at the trend as “feel good factor” for the PDP-BJP alliance. “This partying reflects sign of normalcy, a reason to cheer up for the PDP led government, which was otherwise struck in controversies” said a journalist, adding “Otherwise also Ramzan is a month of peace when even ceasefires are made, to end hostilities.”

Dr Pir GN Suhail, who heads the Centre for Research and Development Policy-CRDP, a think-tank, however, has a different take on the issue. “Peace is too big a term but yes such celebrations need normalcy, and there’s a sign of normalcy, which is unlike of ‘90s” he said.

“See such Iftaar parties are a good sign. It’s a question of celebrations and togetherness. You may even call it networking in good sense,” Dr Suhail, who hosts the popular Kehwa Talk, added.

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