South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), a regional network of human rights defenders, is deeply disturbed to learn about the forced cancellation of the live performances of the Pakistani ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali in Mumbai and Pune by Chitrapat Sena, Shiv Sena’s film wing. The internationally renowned musician was to perform at a concert held as a tribute to late singer Jagjit Singh on his fourth death anniversary on 9th October in the capital of Maharashtra.
SAHR firmly believes that this protest of Shiv Sena has deprived the citizens of their cultural rights and regrets the inability of the Maharashtra government to uphold the same. At the same time SAHR fully endorses the quote of the Indian minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, “Ghulam Ali is a messenger of peace. Boundaries should not be fixed for those giving the message of peace.”
SAHR notes with concern the numerous similar acts of Shiv Sena executed in the past in the name of patriotism which have only promoted extremism with regard to race and religion; and the failure of the state to prevent such incidents from repeating. Such actions done in narrow parochial manner vitiates the atmosphere for peace between neighbours and in the region.
Therefore, SAHR welcomes the invitation of Kapil Mishra, Minister of Tourism from Aam Aadmi Party to Ghulam Ali to perform in New Delhi after the cancellation of the concerts in Mumbai and Pune.
On behalf of the members of South Asians for Human Rights
Dr. Nimalka Fernando