Pakistan's renowned ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali will not perform in Maharashtra this week, as his shows were cancelled after a meeting between the organisers and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray, a party leader said on Wednesday.
"The programmes would be held as per schedule, but Ghulam Ali will not participate in it. This decision was taken at a meeting between the event organisers and Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray here this evening (Wednesday)," the Shiv Sena's film wing Chitrapat Sena general secretary Akshay Bardapurkar said.
The decision was taken despite a snub to Sena by Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis who said adequate
protection would be provided to Ali and that the concert, organised in memory of late ghazal singer Jagjit Singh, would be held according to schedule.
The Shiv Sena earlier on Wednesday threatened to disrupt Ghulam Ali's proposed live concerts in Mumbai and Pune this week.
Chitrapat Sena president Aadesh Bandekar said: "We have met and asked the authorities at Shanmukhananda Hall in Matunga to cancel the show proposed to be held on October 9, failing which we shall protest in our own style."
The Shiv Sena's Chitrapat Sena leader Akshay Badrapurkar in middle (white) handing over the letter to Senior manager of Shanmukhanand.
The party has threatened that if the programme scheduled for October 9 isn't withdrawn then Sena will protest in its style. The Sena has been protesting against Pakistan and any form of cultural ties with Pakistan.
"We are against any form of cultural association with Pakistan. We cannot have ties with a country that kills our soldiers. They are against us why should we let their singers perform here," said Badrapurkar.
He further added, "Today we are requesting them to cancel the programme if the don't then we will be forced to protest in our style.'
Earlier, the Sena had protested against Atif Aslam's concert and also the Pakistan cricket team playing on Indian soil.
Leo Francis, senior manager, Shanmukhanand, said, "We called the organiser and informed him the situation. We have asked him to give us an undertaking that there is no risk with the show. Unless the undertaking is given, we do not want to take any risk."
Shanmukhanand Hall at Matunga is the same place where Shiv Sena holds majority of its function.
"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 outside the Matoshree.
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."
Describing Jagjit Singh as his "good brother", Ali said wherever they met and performed, "we were one".
Officials said Ghulam Ali's participation in the events in Mumbai and Pune could raise security concerns and it was the duty of the government to ensure the safety of the internationally-acclaimed artiste.
Bandekar said the party would also protest and stop a similar concert scheduled in Pune on October 10 as part of the fourth death anniversary tribute to late singer Jagjit Singh.
Interestingly, both the concerts have reported a near-total sell-out and have been the topic of discussion on social media since the past few days.
He warned of protests not only in Mumbai and Pune but wherever the 75-year-old Ghulam Ali performs in India.
(Inputs from news agencies)