Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali will perform in a concert at the Siri Fort on November 8, the AAP government announced on Thursday. The AAP had earlier invited the iconic singer to perform in Delhi after his shows in Mumbai and Pune were cancelled due to threats from the Shiv Sena, which is part of the ruling coalition in Maharashtra.
The Sena responded to the AAP’s announcement by saying it would “go to any extent” to ensure that the concert does not take place.
On Thursday, Delhi’s Art and Culture Minister Kapil Mishra tweeted, “On 8th November, Delhi will host Ghulam Ali Saab. Tum nafrat failate raho, hum bhaichara badhate rahenge. Tum kaante botay raho, hum phool ugate rahenge.” (You keep on spreading hatred, we will spread brotherhood. You go on sowing thorns, we will grow flowers).
Mishra told The Indian Express, “There is no need for any special security for the event. Nothing can go wrong in Delhi. This is not Mumbai. This a battle between love and hate and love will always triumph. Except for a few hardliners like the Shiv Sena, everybody would love to listen to Ghulam Ali sahab.”
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“Ghulam Ali sahab did not raise any concerns about security. He happily agreed to come to Delhi,” added Mishra.
The event was already scheduled by a prominent Hindi newspaper and the government has now joined hands with the daily to ensure that it is held, said sources. Mishra had met Ali two days after his concert in Mumbai was cancelled, while Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had spoken with Ali on the phone, they said.
However, sources close to Ali said that a variety of factors will determine whether the concert will finally be held, including the situation in India at that time. “The last few days have been quite taxing for him. He wouldn’t want to be in a similar situation again,” said one of Khan’s close friends.
Warning that the Shiv Sena will never allow the concert to take place, the party’s Delhi unit chief Om Dutt Sharma said, “We criticise the Delhi government’s decision to host Ghulam Ali in Delhi. We will not let the concert happen and we will go to any extent to stop it. We don’t have any issues with any artist, but we reject any kind of cultural exchange or talks with Pakistan. Pakistan has to stop ceasefire violations.”
Dismissing the Sena’s warning, Mishra said, “I would just like say to the followers of Bal Thackeray, please get well soon. Do some meditation and perform pooja for Durga Ma”.
To ensure that all attempts to disrupt the concert are thwarted, AAP has decided to deploy its own workers — an ‘army’ of them — at the venue, if needed.
“If the need arises, we will deploy our army of party workers to ensure that the programme goes fine. We will not allow any kind of disruption in the event,” said AAP leader Sanjay Singh.