Shiv Sena protest scripts Pakistani band’s exit from VIT fest

Rock and pop fans waiting eagerly for some music from across the border are a disappointed lot.

Written by Express News Service | Pune | Published: February 23, 2012 1:59:39 am

Rock and pop fans waiting eagerly for some music from across the border are a disappointed lot. A group of Shiv Sena activists has poured cold water on the plans of Vishwakarma Institute of Technology (VIT) students to rope in Pakistani band ‘Jal’ on Sunday for the annual fest.

Following a protest by a group of Shiv Sena party workers who had marched to the college against the invite extended to ‘Jal’,VIT decided to cancel the performance of the Lahore-based pop/rock band,although it chose to cite examinations as the reason. Other musical and cultural events at the fest,however,would go on as usual.

The decision to cancel the show was announced officially on the college website on Wednesday evening.

The band was to perform at Melange,the annual cultural festival of the college,organised by students.

This is the second event in the city being called off in recent times after protests from political groups.

Earlier,the screening of a documentary by filmmaker Sanjay Kak was cancelled by Symbiosis International University after protests from the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP). It was to be screened at Jashn-e-Azadi,a Kashmir festival organised by the varsity earlier this month.

VIT Dean,Students Activities,A Moolchandani,cited the ongoing examinations as reason for cancellation of the Jal performance at the last minute.

“At present,our college examinations as well as board exams are on. Usually the fest is held in January,but this year it was delayed due to the civic elections. Last year,the band Indian Ocean performed on our campus. This year we realised a band will inconvenience students. This led to cancellation of the performance. However,other cultural events like Footloose,Indi rock and orchestra will be held as scheduled.”

Students are disappointed. One of them said,“This shows that the college cannot stand up to its values of freedom. If we don’t even have cultural tolerance,it is useless to pin hope on bigger issues like international peace. Why give us the go ahead to organise the whole event,when it was to be cancelled at the last minute,causing embarrassment to us and to the whole city?”

Kiran Sali,vice-president of Bharatiya Vidyarthi Sena,the student wing of the Shiv Sena,said,“We never discussed any exam related issue as the band was scheduled in the evening,when no exams are held. We protested only keeping in mind the German Bakery blast,the 26/11 Mumbai blasts and so many other terror links that have been traced to Pakistan. It is wrong to call a Pakistani band in the city when so many of our soldiers are killed on the border by Pakistani forces.”

The police detained four workers of the Shiv Sena were detained by the Pune police,who were released later in the day.

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