Indian media: Kashmir chief backs Zubin Mehta's concert

Noted music composer Zubin Mehta is set to perform in Indian-administered Kashmir Zubin Mehta is set to perform in Indian-administered Kashmir

The chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, has backed noted musician Zubin Mehta's upcoming concert in the state amid calls by some separatist leaders to cancel the event, media reports say.

Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said that "any sort of international activity, be it political, diplomatic, cultural or sports, will have an adverse effect on the disputed nature of Jammu and Kashmir".

Mr Abdullah says the "Ehsaas-e-Kashmir" (Feelings of Kashmir) concert, organised by the German embassy and the state tourism department on 7 September, will not affect the Kashmir issue.

"Music is in our culture. Projecting it in a way that it is against Kashmiriyat (Kashmiri identity) or outside its ambit is absolutely wrong," the Greater Kashmir newspaper quoted Mr Abdullah as saying.

Mr Abdullah added that the Kashmir issue is "not so weak that a music concert will affect its status".

Mr Geelani, however, seems unfazed and called for a strike in the state on the day of the concert.

"I appeal to the people of Kashmir and the Jammu regions to observe a complete shutdown on 7 September," the Hindustan Times quotes him as saying.

Meanwhile, newspapers are also discussing the induction of India's "largest-ever transport plane" into the air force.

"The C-17 Globemaster, capable of lifting tanks to the border with China and Pakistan, has made its debut with a test flight at the Hindon base in Uttar Pradesh," a report on NDTV website says.

Moving on to domestic news, new government data shows that child trafficking is on the rise in India, the Hindustan Times reports.

"Data from 24 states shows that 15,130 children have gone missing this year and so far only 6,269 have been found… more girls have vanished than boys - a worrying indication that child traffickers are getting smarter," the report says.

In financial news, the Hindustan Times says that rising inflation is likely to affect the upcoming holiday season.

"This promises to be a very expensive festival season. From holidays to commuting to meals to even the mandatory mithai (sweets) - everything is expected to cost more thanks to already implemented or impending increases in the prices of aviation turbine fuel, cooking gas, diesel and kerosene," the paper adds.

And in some good news for bird lovers, the Delhi state government is planning to spend nearly 6 million rupees ($88,000; £56,000) to boost the dwindling number of sparrows in the city, the Hindustan Times reports.

The government plans to develop nesting and feeding sites in several parts of Delhi, the paper adds.

Black magic

Meanwhile, Shakespeare-lovers can now watch the bard's plays in Punjabi language at an ongoing theatre festival in Delhi, Business Standard reports.

King Lear and Romeo and Juliet are among the plays on offer at the Punjabi Theatre Festival, which will also showcase works by Arthur Miller and Urdu playwright Kashmiri Lal Zakir, the paper adds.

And in another news on cultural exchange, Indian filmmaker Vishal Bhardwaj has been chosen to direct an opera based on an Indian folk tale in Paris, the Firstpost.com website reports.

And finally, a documentary film on traditional black magic in Mayong, a remote village in the north-eastern state of Assam, is set for screening at the Silent River Film Festival in California, The Pioneer reports.

The film looks at "age-old practices and legends associated with black magic in the area", the report says.

BBC Monitoring reports and analyses news from TV, radio, web and print media around the world. For more reports from BBC Monitoring, click here. You can follow BBC Monitoring on Twitter and Facebook.

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