A group of men claiming to be members of the Shiv Sena shouted anti-Pakistan slogans and briefly disrupted a play performed in Gurgaon on Saturday by a troupe from across the border.
The men stormed the open air amphitheatre where the play was being staged shouting “Pakistan Murdabaad”, “Hindustan Zindabad” and “Jai Shri Ram”, an eye witness said.
The Lahore-based Mass Group Foundation was presenting their play Baanjh-- showing tranquility in the troubled Siachin region -- when the group comprising five-six men allegedly disrupted proceedings.
“The men emerged from the audience and came on the stage, shouted slogans against Pakistan and disrupted the show. There was no police, so I along with others drove them away. The one-hour play was disrupted for about 10 minutes after which it resumed,” said Anil Arya, a Gurgaon resident.
Some eyewitnesses said the protesters pulled down Pakistani flags put on the stage, but a spokesperson for the Municipal Corporation of Gurgaon (MCG), which organised the event, said nothing of that sort happened.
MCG spokesperson Satbir Rohilla said the authorities decided against reporting the matter to the police as they did not want to “turn the trouble makers into heroes”.
Deputy commissioner of police (East) Deepak Sharan said though the organisers had neither obtained permission for the play or registered a complaint over the disruption , the matter was still being probed.
“Still, on getting information, the police inspector of the police station concerned rushed to the scene. We have got to know of the registration number of the vehicle used by the trouble makers. The matter is under investigation,” he said.
ANI quoted a local spokesperson of the Shiv Sena as saying his party would continue such protests until Pakistan stopped firing across the border
Earlier this month, Shiv Sena activists had on three occasions targeted events in Maharashtra featuring Pakistani artistes or officials.
“We hold such events to bring the two countries closer. The very fact that the audience intervened to normalise the situation showed that they loved us and that they wanted peace. There are anti-social elements in Pakistan too , but here the situation as improved,” said Aamir Nawaz, the director of the play.
“Both countries spend crores of rupees on Siachen Glacier. It would be better to spend that amount on the needs of the nation. There is unnecessary bloodshed on both sides, “ said Afzaal Nabi, writer of the play.
Last Monday, Shiv Sena blackened the face of former BJP ideologue Suneendra Kulkarni with ink while he was on his way to the launch of a book by former Pakistan foreign minister Khurshid Mehmood Kasuri in Mumbai.
Pakistani ghazal singer Ghulam Ali, who was scheduled to perform in Mumbai, was also forced to pull out after the Shiv Sena threatened to disrupt the proceedings.
The Shiv Sena’s demonstrators later stormed the Indian cricket board’s Mumbai office in protest over talks with the Pakistan Cricket Board and demanded there be no sporting contact between India and Pakistan.