Indian activists demand security for Pakistani artists
* Shiv Sena, MNS oppose Pakistani artists’ participation in Indian reality show
LAHORE: Indian civil society activists on Wednesday asked the Indian and Maharashtra government to provide security to the Pakistani artists participating in a reality show on a private Hindi channel after threats from two extremist Hindu organisations.
A statement issued by a group of prominent Indians condemned Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for issuing a warning to an entertainment channel for including two Pakistani artists in its reality show ‘Bigg Boss’. They disagreed with the groups’ opposition to participation of Pakistani artists in the show. Shiv Sena staged a protest outside the ‘Bigg Boss’ studio in Lonavala on Tuesday protesting Pakistani artists’ participation in the show.
“Bollywood and Indian television… are beamed and exported to all countries of South Asia and the world…. India and Pakistan share a common history. Pakistani artists are also popular in India,” read a statement issued by the group. It referred to the contribution of Pakistani artists to the Indian film industry and the roaring applause Pakistani contingent got at the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony. The latter being an indicator of how much Indians desire enduring peace between the two countries.
“Music, art, sports have no boundaries. They are the messengers of peace, friendship and love. We need to promote and encourage exchange of artists,” the statement further read. The group called for promotion of people-to-people contact between India and Pakistan, and called on Shiv Sena and MNS to voice their objections in a democratic manner. “These parties claim to represent the people of India while they are hated in the rest of the country and find little acceptance in Maharashtra itself,” the message read. Â“It is ridiculous that the MNS is trying to claim patriotism while they beat up innocent Indians on the streets of Mumbai only because they are not Maharashtrian,” it further stated.
The statement observed that this was not the first time that these groups have threatened Pakistani artists. It appealed to the central and Maharashtra government to provide complete security to the Pakistani artists and to the team of channel the show is being aired on.
The signees of the statement included Asad Bin Saif, Dolphy D’souza of Bombay Catholic Sabha, Jatin Desai of Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy, Kamayani, Mahesh Bhatt, Mazher of COVA, Meena Menon, and Sukla Sen of Ekta (Committee for Communal Amity).
Source: Daily Times