MUMBAI: Renowned Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concert in Mumbai has been cancelled after objections raised by the Shiv Sena, which co-governs Maharashtra with the BJP.
“I’m not angry but very hurt. I have always got love in India,” Ghulam Ali told NDTV. “The concert was a tribute for Jagjit Singh. He was like a brother to me,” he said.
“Such controversies spoil the sur of music,” Ghulam Ali said.
The concert was cancelled after the organisers met Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray today.
“Our meeting was good with Uddhav. The program will take place but Ghulam Ali is not coming for the program,” Randhir Ranjan Roy, the organiser, said.
Demanding that the concert be cancelled, the Shiv Sena had said earlier today, “We can’t have cultural ties with Pakistan when they kill our soldiers.”
Ally BJP however had slammed the demand. Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi of the BJP told NDTV: “What the Sena is doing with Ghulam Ali is absolutely wrong. People like him must be kept above and beyond borders.”
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had also said the Ghulam Ali is welcome to perform in Mumbai. “The Maharashtra government is ready to give full protection to the singer. It is wrong to involve Ghulam Ali in Indo-Pak politics,” he said.
Ghulam Ali was scheduled to perform on Friday at Mumbai’s Shanmukhanand Hall, a venue for several Shiv Sena functions.
Members of the Sena’s film wing, the Chitrapat Sena, met officials at the venue today and urged them to cancel the event.
A Shiv Sena leader reportedly told officials that at a time when “Pakistan has targeted Indian soldiers, decapitated them and returned their headless bodies, India should not be enjoying cultural relations with them.”
Ghulam Ali, 74, who has also sung for a number of Indian films, held a concert earlier this year at the famous Sankat Mochan in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.
Sources in the Shiv Sena said though the party is in a coalition with the BJP, it will not change its views on ties with Pakistan if it kept targeting India.
The party has earlier protested against singer Atif Aslam’s show and the Pakistan cricket team playing on Indian soil.