India: Pakistani singer’s concerts cancelled after protests

Two concerts by the veteran Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali scheduled in the Indian state of Maharashtra were cancelled by the organizers after a regional Hindu right-wing party took exception to the events.

The Shiv Sena, a Hindu nationalist party that is part of the coalition government in Maharashtra State, asked the organisers to cancel the concerts after the killing of four Indian soldiers in the Indian-administered part of Kashmir.

Aditya Thackeray, the leader of the Shiv Sena, made it clear that the party objected to the events simply because of Mr Ali’s nationality.

With its muscular brand of hard-line politics and the sometimes violent protests by its followers, the Shiv Sena has long been a powerful, and feared, presence in Mumbai, the Maharashtra state capital.

Fearing a disruption of Mr Ali’s concert, Leo Fernandis, the manager of the venue in Mumbai, Shanmukhananda Hall, said he had asked the organisers to contact the Shiv Sena to reach an agreement, or else the show would be cancelled.


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Hindustan Times’ report on the incident

“Organisers of the event Panache Media announced the cancellation after a meeting with Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray this evening at ‘Matoshree’, the Thackeray residence in suburban Bandra.

“Ghulam Ali’s programme has been cancelled. Neither Ghulam Ali nor any Pakistani artiste will be performing at the October 9 event,” organiser Randhir Roy told reporters.

“Uddhav saab said that even he is a huge fan of Ghulam Ali saab and if the concert had taken place, he would have attended it too. But unfortunately the conditions at the border right now forced them to oppose the concert,” Roy added.

Reacting to the development, Ali said the concert was not cancelled from his end. “Atmosphere is not conducive for me to perform,” he said, adding, he wants Indo-Pak ties to improve.

He further said that whenever his fans call him with love, he goes and performs. “Such controversies spoil people’s ‘sur’(note). I am not angry, I am hurt. In love, such things don’t happen,” he said. (…)

This is not the first time that the Sena is opposing Pakistani artistes. In April, noted singer Atif Aslam’s concert at Pune was cancelled following threats from the party. Earlier, in February, a press meet called by well-known Sufi band Mekaal Hasan was disrupted by Thackeray’s men. In 2010, Sena workers opposed the inclusion of Begum Nawazish and Veena Malik in the reality show Bigg Boss.


» Hindustan Times – 8 October 2015:
‘Hurt’ says Ghulam Ali after Sena threats get concert cancelled