Srinagar is readying for the G20 with dressed-up security bunkers and peacock murals
On a rainy morning on May 4, a group of workers reached a major crossing in Srinagar city centre.
They walked up to a sandbag bunker – one among the scores of similar structures from behind which security personnel watch the city.
Within three hours, the pile of sandbags had been covered with a structure made out of blue iron sheets, with a wire mesh in front to allow a soldier to look out.
The final touch? A billboard with the G20 logo and images of the snow-clad mountains in Gulmarg, Kashmir’s popular ski resort, was stuck in front.
The “smart bunker” was ready.
Around 30 or 40 security bunkers are being renovated at the cost of Rs 44.44 lakh, as the Jammu and Kashmir administration prepares for a meeting of G20 representatives in Srinagar on May 22.
That is not all. Srinagar’s roads are being spruced up with demarcated cycle tracks, markets are being turned into pedestrian-only and barbed wire-free zones and art students are painting murals featuring wild peacocks and rababs – the stringed instrument used in Kashmiri folk music – on walls around the city.
“We are trying to portray certain aspects of Kashmiri culture and the past,” said Shahid Shabir Wani, a 23-year-old undergraduate student in…