MUMBAI: Shiv Sena activists on Tuesday disrupted a media gathering and vociferously protested the presence of Pakistani musicians at the Press Club here.
Shortly after the programme to launch the first joint India-Pakistan band comprising musicians from the two countries started, a large group of Shiv Sena activists barged inside the club carrying party flags.
They raised slogans against Pakistan, the visiting artistes and waved banners with “Pakistan Murdabad” printed on them, thereby disrupting the media briefing even as a large posse of policemen attempted to control them.
The stunned artistes, comprising visiting members of the Mekaal Hasan Band and the organisers, were pushed into a corner. No one was injured and there was no damage to property, a club office-bearer said.
Police rounded up several Shiv Sainiks and detained them for creating the ruckus.
Justifying the action, Shiv Sena spokesperson Rahul Narvekar said it was the party’s policy not to allow any Pakistani artiste to perform in Mumbai.
“They behead our soldiers on the border, indulge in terror activities and then come here to make money. We shall not tolerate this,” he said.
Gurbir Singh, president of the Press Club Mumbai, said he has spoken to state Home Minister R.R. Patil and top police officers seeking additional forces at the venue.
Two Pakistani artistes – guitarist Mekaal Hasan, flautist Muhammad Ahsan Papu – and three Indians – drummer Gino Banks, bass player Sheldon D’Silva and vocalist Sharmishtha Chatterjee – were present at the media briefing.
“This is the first initiative of its kind and aims to create a positive interaction between musicians of both India and Pakistan, create a relationship of mutual benefit, trust and thereby strengthen peaceful ties between the two countries,” said organiser Jatin Desai.