Ghulam Ali’s concert cancelled after Shiv Sena threatens to disrupt show

Renowned Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali's concert in Mumbai has been cancelled due to fear of trouble after Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt the show. The musical event which was scheduled for Friday, October 9, was supposed to be a tribute to late singer Jagjit Singh.

"Ghulam Ali will not be coming for the concert which was to be held on October 9," event organiser Randhir Roy said. The concert was called off after the organisers held a meeting with Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday, a leading daily reported.

The cine wing of the political party Chitrapat Sena met officials at the venue and urged them to cancel the event. Ghulam Ali was scheduled to perform at Mumbai's Shamughananda Hall, a venue where several Shiv Sena functions are also held.

In a letter to the management of the Shamughananda Hall Chitrapat Sena had said if it went ahead with the show it would have to face the "anger of Shiv Sena and the patriotic people".

"Through this letter, we want to convey to you that if you invite the Pakistan artiste to the show you will have to face the Shiv Sena's wrath... Which is why we ask you to prohibit the Pakistan artist from coming to the programme, or else you will have to face the anger of Shiv Sena's and the patriotic people of the country," Chitrapat Sena Vibhag Pramukh Mangesh Satamkar had said in his letter.

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."

Shiv Sena is a coalition partner of the Maharashtra government along ally BJP. The latter has however, distanced itself from the demand. Speaking to NDTV, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi of the BJP said, "What the Sena is doing with Ghulam Ali is absolutely wrong. People like him must be kept above and beyond borders."

State Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had also said that 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.

The 74-year-old ghazal singer has also several songs for Bollywood films. Earlier this year, Ghulam Ali held a concert at the famous Sankat Mochan in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's constituency.

Shiv Sena had earlier also protested against singer Atif Aslam's show and the Pakistan cricket team playing on Indian soil.