Home/ Politics / Policy/  Shiv Sena disrupts Pakistani band’s press conference

Mumbai: A group of 40-50 Shiv Sena workers disrupted Pakistan-based musician Mekaal Hasan’s press conference at the Mumbai Press Club on Tuesday afternoon.

The protest was carried out against the musician’s announcement of an Indo-Pak band consisting of members of his Lahore-based sufi-rock band and Mumbai-based artistes Sharmistha Chatterjee, a well-known playback singer, Gino Banks, son of famous jazz musician Louis Banks and bassist Sheldon D’Silva.

At approximately 3pm, the protestors barged into the ground floor conference room of the Press Club on Mahapalika Marg in Fort with saffron flags and placards that read “Mekaal Hasan Go Back" and “Pakistan murdabaad". While chanting slogans against the Pakistani musicians of the band, Shiv Sena workers forced about 20 newspaper reporters and cameramen from leading television news channels out of the conference room, tore the backdrop with the band’s logo on the stage and mowed down the tripods and cameras that had been set up. The police were quick to arrive at the scene but were unable to control the mob from sloganeering inside and outside the conference room. The band members had not been attacked physically and were seen leaving the venue at 4:30pm.

Jatin Desai, the organizer of the conference and secretary, Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy, said that the Press Club wasn’t expecting Shiv Sena workers at the event but were intimated of their entry around 10 minutes before the conference was scheduled. “As soon as I heard that Shiv Sena workers had heard about the event, I told the band that there was a chance they might try and disrupt it," said Desai.

In the last couple of years, Hasan, who founded the Mekaal Hasan Band in 2001 along with flautist Mohammad Ahsan Papu, has expressed his desire to collaborate with Indian artistes in interviews during his tours to India. In an interview to Rolling Stone Magazine India in January 2013, Hasan even said that due to security concerns in Pakistan, the band performs at more shows in India in a week than they would in their country in a year. Currently, the band is made up of Hasan on guitars and Papu on flute from Pakistan with India’s Chatterjee on lead vocals, Banks on drums and D’Silva on bass and will soon launch the Mekaal Hasan Band’s third studio album, Andholan.

“From what I understand, the police has arrested a few Shiv Sainik and I expect them to arrest the rest and take stern action against them," Desai added.

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Updated: 05 Feb 2014, 12:50 AM IST
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