A group of men claiming to belong to Hindu right-wing party Shiv Sena disrupted a play by Pakistani actors in Gurgaon near New Delhi on Saturday night.
Chanting anti-Pakistan slogans, around five to six young men claiming to be Shiv Sainiks climbed atop the stage at an open air theatre in Gurgaon, in New Delhi’s outskirts, where a group of seven Pakistani actors from a group, Mass Foundation, were staging a play “Banjh” (infertile), Indian newspaper reported.
“We initially thought that it was part of the play. But we soon realised that they wanted to disrupt the play when they uprooted a Pakistani flag placed on the stage. They also raised slogans against Pakistan and in favour of India,” said Satyabir Singh Rohilla, Public Relations Officer, Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon.
“But the organisers of the play soon brought the situation under control and pushed them off the stage and the play was completed,” he added.
Speaking about the incident, the director of the play, Aamir Nawaz, said that they had come with the message of peace and were taking back lots of love and affection from the people of India.
“We have been coming to India since 2008 and have staged plays in different parts of the country such as Amritsar, Kurukshetra and Rohtak. We have been to other parts of the world as well, but enjoy performing in India as we share a common culture,” Aamir told the newspaper.
Responding to a question about recent protests against Pakistani actors, the director said that the cultural exchange between two countries should be increased to defeat such extremist elements.
MCG Art Consultant VD Trikha termed the incident “unfortunate”. “We should not protest against the artists. They belong to all. We have also been to Pakistan several times and got lot of love and affection from the people there. I am happy that the audience present at the play objected to the conduct of those trying to disrupt the play.”
The Pakistani group is set to perform at Azad Bhawan in New Delhi on Monday.
Shiv Sena activists recently blackened the face of former BJP leader Sudheendra Kulkarni, chairman of the Observer Research Foundation, in Mumbai when he refused to cancel the book launch of former Pakistani Foreign Minister Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri in Mumbai.
Activists from the Hindu right-wing party also stormed the BCCI office in Mumbai and forced cancellation of talks between Pakistan Crocket Baord chairman Shahryar Khan and Indian cricket board chief Shashank Manohar.
Further, Shiv Sena’s protests forced the cancellation of legendary Pakistani singer Ghulam Ali’s concert and activists of the party have vowed not to let Pakistani superstars Fawad and Mahira promote their films in Maharashtra.