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Padma Shri to Sami: Parties slam Centre

By Naresh Kamath, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON JAN 28, 2020 12:59 AM IST

Political parties in Maharashtra have criticised the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government for awarding Padma Shri to Adnan Sami, a Pakistani singer who got Indian citizenship four years ago.

The three main parties of the state — the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) and Congress — said PM Modi has insulted the country and its citizens by honouring Sami with the citizenship and Padma Shri, both.

The MNS, which objected to Sami’s name immediately after it was announced, has intensified its stance by threatening not to allow his concerts in Mumbai. “If the government does not revert back its decision, we will not allow his shows here,” said MNS leader Ameya Khopkar.

NCP leader Nawab Malik said, “The decision has made it clear that BJP’s policy is that those who praise the PM will get citizenship as well as Padma Shri. But we, the Indians, will be forced to prove our citizenship.”

The Congress has called the move hypocrisy on Modi’s part. “On one hand Modi criticises Pakistan and wants all his opponents to be sent to Pakistan, while any Pakistani who praises Modi gets one of the most prestigious government awards,” said Congress spokesperson Sachin Sawant.

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