In yet another incident of opposition against Pakistani artistes’ performance in India, a concert by Pakistani Sufi rock group Mekaal Hasan Band in Ahmedabad had to be shelved after the Shiv Sena threatened the organisers with vandalism.
The Shiv Sena has previously disrupted the launch of an album by the band last February at the Mumbai Press Club.
Eleven partyment led by local Shiv Sena leader Ashok Sharma staged protests outside CN Vidyalaya schook in Ambawad, the concert venue, and started shouting slogans against the Pakistani artistes.
"CN trustee TJ Purani got calls asking him to cancel the concert. He was told, 'You are supporting a Pakistani band. Hum aake sab kuch tod denge. Aage aisa karoge toh aapke school ko bhi problem hoga' (We'll break everything you own. Even your school will face problems if you continue doing this)," Chetan Chauhan, founder of Jazzabad Club, who invited the band to perform in India, told Ahmedabad Mirror.
On learning about the protest, Ellisbridge Police Inspector NK Vyas and his staff rushed to the venue. “Eleven persons, who claimed to be associated with Shiv Sena, shouted slogans like ‘go back Pakistani artistes’... ‘Jai Bhawani’... and cancel this event’," said Vyas.
The Indo-Pak sufi group Mekaal Hasan Band comprises of Pakistani artistes Mekaal Hasan, Ibrahim Akram, Aamir Azhar, Muhammad Ahsan Papu and Indian vocalist Sharmistha Chatterjee.
Defiant and triumphant, Shiv Sena leader Sharma said, “Pakistan is killing Indian soldiers and promoting terrorism. They are responsible for killing many innocent civilians. Thus, we cannot tolerate their artistes coming here and singing songs on our soil. Due to our protest, organisers called off the event."
The Sena activists, including Sharma, who were booked under IPC Section 188 (defying police orders), were produced before a court which released them on bail, said Vyas.
Earlier on Monday, the Shiv Sena had mobbed and attacked author and former journalist Sudheendra Kulkarni hours before he was to launch a book of a former Pakistan foreign minister and smeared black paint on his face to protest any cultural association of India with Pakistan. Before that the Sena had forced Ghulam Ali concerts in Mumbai and Pune to be cancelled.
The saffron outfit, which is part of the BJP-led ruling coalition in Maharashtra and also at the Centre, has been consistently opposing shows by Pakistani artistes saying that it sponsors terrorism in India.
(With inputs from Agencies)