MUMBAI: The Shiv Sena has sparked a major controversy with its protest against Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai. Defending its agitation, Shiv Sena on Thursday clarified that it was not possible to have ‘fun’ when soldiers are being martyred. It also said that it will continue to ‘boycott’ Pakistan until the terror activities by them are stopped.
The party is under massive attack from all quarters including political and cultural sections for forcing the cancellation of Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai. Commenting on the same, Aditya Thackeray, Shiv Sena’s youth wing Chief said, “We cannot have fun here when our soldiers are suffering.” He believed that it is difficult to remain insensitive to the suffering of Indian soldiers due to continuous ‘ceasefire violation’ by the neighbouring country.
“We are not denying the fact that we all enjoy songs by Ghulam Ali but at the same time, we need to exhibit some sensitivity towards our soldiers. Ceasefire violations are happening on a daily basis which is why we cannot have fun while our soldiers are suffering,” Shiv Sena President Udhhav Thackeray’s son said. He also added saying, “Terrorism and culture can definitely never go hand in hand. We are definitely not against his art or music, but we certainly cannot enjoy while our soldiers are suffering.”
Junior Thackeray left no stone unturned to target the ruling State government. On being quizzed regarding the security that has been offered to the show by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Aditya answered, “The CM should first provide security to the people of the State and then talk about providing security to a concert. People are getting affected by terrorist activities in Jammu and Kashmir. Until this terrorism stops, there should be no talks with Pakistan and they should be boycotted till then.”
Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi condemned the protest initiated by Shiv Sena saying, “It is definitely incorrect to protest against Ghulam Ali or his concert. He is an artist and has all the right to perform. An artist should never be bound by boundaries and personal rivalries. What Pakistan is doing at the border should not reflect on events like these.”
A live concert was scheduled for Pakistani artist Ghulam Ali for Friday at Shanmughananda Hall but was cancelled after Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt the show.
The 74-year-old Pakistani ghazal singer has performed in Mumbai in the past when he paid tribute to famous Indian singer, Late Jagjit Singh, along with several other singers from India.
Defending its stand, Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said, “By cancelling Ghulam Ali’s concert, we have definitely paid tribute to our martyred Indian soldiers.”
The political parties in India are not the only ones that have condemned the Shiv Sena move. The cancellation of the concert has also triggered sharp reactions from Pakistan. Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit expressed disappointment over the matter and said that “cultural exchanges are important elements of bilateral ties which his country ‘encourages’”.
First Published | 8 October 2015 4:41 PM