Days after the Shiv Sena forced the cancellation of Pakistani artist Ghulam Ali's concert here, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Thursday said his government will ensure full-proof security to the ghazal maestro if he still wishes to perform in the city.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis
"We will not hesitate to put behind bars and prosecute anybody, even somebody from our party or our friends (referring to Shiv Sena) who breaks the law. When Ghulam Ali ji was to perform in Mumbai, we had announced full security for him. But before we could formally communicate with them, they decided to back out," Fadnavis said. He was speaking at the 'India Today' Conclave in Mumbai.
In a veiled attack at the Sena, Fadnavis said it is wrong to relate Ghulam Ali to any religion or a country, as he is an artist.
"Last time the event did not happen because the organisers backed out. But if Ghulam Ali ji wants to perform again in Mumbai or Maharashtra, we will ensure full-proof security for him," he said.
Fadnavis further said the state government's decision to provide security for former Pakistan Foreign Minister Khurshid Kasuri's book launch should not be seen as endorsing his views.
"It is not that we are giving him (Kasuri) security as we endorse his views. But, despite all opposition, we had to provide him security as it was our 'Raj Dharma'. Despite threats, we managed to get his book launch done without any security problems," he said.
Elucidating on the BJP's recent standoffs with its ally Sena, the Chief Minister said though they are two different parties, they are working in tandem with each other without any 'problems'.
"Both parties are a part of the state cabinet. But, we have never taken split decisions. We are always together. Comments made in Marathi are misunderstood by the national media. Thus, talks of rifts crop up. As far as the government is concerned, we are working without any problems," Fadnavis added.