Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali’s concert, scheduled to be held in Mumbai on October 9, was on Wednesday cancelled after Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt it. The opposition was predictable. For opposing any cultural ties with Pakistan, the Sena has maintained that the government should call off every cultural and sporting relation with the neighbouring country till it stops all terror activity on Indian soil.
Over the years, the party has flexed its muscle to thwart attempts at cultural collaborations with Pakistani artists, sportspersons and others.
Digging Ferozshah Kotla pitch (1999): Shiv Sainiks dug up the pitch of the Ferozshah Kotla stadium ahead of Pakistan’s cricket tour. However, the match still took place and India’s star spinner Anil Kumble set the record of taking ten wickets in an innings.
ICC Champions Trophy (2006): After the Mumbai serial train blasts, Shiv Sena said it will stage protests and disrupt the ICC Champions Trophy matches featuring Pakistan in Jaipur and Mohali. The Sena said Pakistan should not be allowed to play in India in protest against the alleged involvement of ISI in the bombings.
Bigg Boss 4 (2010): The Shiv Sena asked the organiser of the show Bigg Boss during the fourth season to evict the Pakistani contestants Veena Malik and Ali Saleem from the show. The Sena maintained that there is no dearth of celebrities in India that the organisers were bringing outsiders, that too from Pakistan.
Singing reality shows (2012): The Shiv Sena joined forces with the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS ) seeking a ban on Pakistani artistes’ participation in Indian TV shows. Rajya Sabha member of Shiv Sena Anil Desai said veteran singer Asha Bhosle should not share the stage with Pakistani artistes.
Threat to Pro-Kabaddi league players (2014-15): In the inaugural season of the Pro-Kabaddi league, three Pakistani players were kept away from matches in the state by their teams on account of the threat by Shiv Sainiks. In the subsequent year, the Shiv Sena asked the organisers of the Pro Kabaddi League not to field Pakistani players in any match held in Mumbai and Pune.
Sena disrupts India-Pak music meet in Mumbai (2014): Shiv Sena workers barged into the press meet and protested against Pakistani musicians before the launch of joint album. They stood on chairs with placards and demanded that the Sufi rock band be sent back.
Atif Aslam concert cancelled (2015): After a strong opposition from the Shiv Sena, Pakistani singer Atif Aslam’s concert in Pune, scheduled for April 25, was cancelled. Shiv Sena had threatened to disrupt the event.