Over half-a-dozen Shiv Sainiks disrupted the Sindhi Sufi Music Festival at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts here on Saturday, protesting against the participation of Pakistani singers in the wake of the recent terror attack at a CRPF camp in Srinagar.

Pakistani folk and Sufi singer Sanam Marvi was performing on the open lawns at Mati Ghar around 8.30 p.m. when the Sena workers barged into the premises despite police presence.

“The protesters got on to the stage and even before the audience and the artists could realise what was happening, they took hold of the mike and started raising slogans against Pakistan. The protesters announced that no Pakistani singer would be allowed to perform at the festival. The commotion lasted a few minutes before the organisers managed to push the protesters away from the stage and handed them over to the police,” said an eyewitness.

Protesters detained

Over two dozen Sainiks, including women, had earlier staged a protest outside the venue around 5.30 p.m., raising slogans. The protesters were, however, detained by the police and taken away in a Delhi Transport Corporation bus.

“As the festival is being held on the open lawns and entry is without invitation, it is easy for anyone to walk inside posing as audience and disrupt the show. Still, we had deployed police personnel in adequate numbers. Those who took part in the earlier protest were detained and later let off,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) S.B.S. Tyagi.

In a press statement, the Sena secretary said Pakistan was stabbing the country in the back, but the Indian government was reaching out to them with proposals of love and peace. He said no Pakistani singer or player would be allowed on Indian soil until Pakistan stopped abetting terrorism.

The two-day festival hosts Sufi singers from India and Pakistan displaying their shared heritage of Sindhi Sufism.