Shiv Sena Defends Cancellation of Ghulam Ali's Concert

Mumbai - Under attack from political and cultural quarters for forcing cancellation of Ghulam Ali's concert here, Shiv Sena today said...

Mumbai - Under attack from political and cultural quarters for forcing cancellation of Ghulam Ali's concert here, Shiv Sena today said it was not possible to have fun when soldiers are being martyred and that it will continue to "boycott" Pakistan till it stops terror activities.

Maintaining that it is difficult to remain insensitive to the sufferings of Indian soldiers due to "ceasefire violation" by the neighbour, Sena's youth wing chief Aditya Thackeray said, "We cannot have fun here when our soldiers are suffering."

"We all enjoy Ghulam Ali songs. But we need some sensitivity towards soldiers. Ceasefire violations are happening every day. We cannot have fun here when our soldiers are suffering," Aditya told reporters.

"Terrorism and culture cannot go hand in hand. We are not against his music or art. But can we cannot enjoy when our soldiers are suffering", said Aditya, Yuva Sena chief and son of Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray.

Asked about protection offered to the show by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, the Yuva Sena leader shot back, "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 is stopped there should not be any talk with Pakistan and that country should be boycotted till then", he said.

Ghulam Ali's concert planned at Shanmughananda Hall for tomorrow was cancelled last night after Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt the show

Organisers of the event, planned as a tribute to eminent Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, announced the cancellation after a meeting with Uddhav Thackeray.

Ghulam Ali had earlier performed in Mumbai as a tribute to Jagjit Singh along with several singers from India.

Congress and NCP also attacked Sena for forcing cancellation of the concert

Apart from triggering sharp reactions from artistes and intellectuals in India, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit had also expressed disappointment at the cancellation of the show and said cultural exchanges are important elements of bilateral ties which his country "encourages."

Shiv Sena leader Sanjay Raut said in Mumbai today that "We have paid tributes to the martyred Indian soldiers with the cancellation of Ghulam Ali's concert".

Earlier, in a letter to the management of Shanmukhananda Hall, Shiv Sena's cine wing Chitrapat Sena had said it would have to face the "anger of Shiv Sena and the patriotic people" if it invited any Pakistani artist.

Chitrapat Sena office-bearer Mangesh Satamkar said in the letter that Shiv Sena's stand had been that until Pakistan stopped terror activities, there should be no cultural, sporting and political relations with it.

However, the NCP today termed the scrapping of Ghulam Ali's concert as "unfortunate" and condemned the Sena's double standards.

NCP spokesman Nawab Malik said after the Kargil war, Sena chief late Bal Thackeray had hosted Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad at his residence 'Matoshri'.

Malik said Sena was playing its politics over people's emotions.

"Such double standards are condemnable. Fields like art, culture, sports help break barriers and improve bilateral ties," he said.

Maharashtra Congress had last evening hit out at Shiv Sena, saying the party was indulging in petty politics because it had been marginalised in the government.

Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant said Sena had no other work than criticising the Centre and the state government, of which it is a part, through its mouthpiece 'Saamana'.

"Sena's word does not carry weightage (in government) and this is why they are resorting to such petty politics. The issues between India and Pakistan have to be resolved by the Centre....Art, culture and sports should not be brought into this," Sawant had said.


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