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Ghulam Ali shows in Maharashtra cancelled after Shiv Sena threat

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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 told IANS.

Reacting to the fracas, the 75-year-old singer was seen on TV channels expressing regret and how Mumbai has always welcomed international artistes warmly.

Barely hours before, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had announced that the show would be held and the government would ensure Ghulam Ali’s security.

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 told IANS: “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.”

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.

“We respect the art and artistes of Pakistan. However, we are strongly against any form of cultural association with that country since it regularly kills our soldiers and civilians in attacks around the borders,” Bandekar said.

He warned of protests not only in Mumbai and Pune but wherever Ghulam Ali performs in India.

In the past, the Shiv Sena had protested against Pakistani singer Atif Aslam’s concert and against the Pakistan cricket team playing in India.

On Tuesday, the party, through its mouthpiece Saamana, had urged the Centre to display guts and attack Pakistan in retaliation for the cross-border attacks on Indian solders and civilians.

The concert in Mumbai was scheduled to be held at the iconic Shanmukhananda Hall, a favourite venue for Shiv Sena functions since several decades.

The tribute to Jagjit Singh was specially brought to India through ‘Ek Ehsaas’ concerts, which provides a platform to connect people through music.

(IANS)