Published: 31st December 2019
Mumbai police deny permission for concert to protest CAA on New Year's eve
The team said that they had spent three days scrambling for permission, residents welfare association and the maritime board
The Mumbai police have refused the team behind the much-awaited Unity Rocks Jashn-E-Ekta permission to hold the programme in the city. The event was meant to be a cultural gathering to celebrate peace, unity and secularism and in protest against the Citizenship Amendment Act. But the team said that the police asked them to remove every reference of protest on CAA from the event and also not include two bands who were going to perform.
The team said that they had spent three days scrambling for permission, residents welfare association and the maritime board. "Inspite of us alleviating all concerns and reiterating that the cultural gathering was organised by students, civil society to spread the message of peace, unity and secularism for the new year and will be over in time (before 10), the police kept on coming up with new conditions even as both the residents welfare association and maritime board in principle gave their go-ahead subject to police permission," the team said.
"After involvement of the commissioner of police, the organisers were informed that they want to scrutinise the content and line up and had a problem with inclusion of two artist bands - Yalgaar and Samta Kala Manch. We were also asked to cut the time from 4 hours to 2 hours and produce censor board certificates," the team also said. They also condemned the singling out of artists such as Yalgaar and Samta Kala Manch, "They have enriched the cultural space in Maharashtra and beyond with their songs for humanity and a better world, is not something we can accept and is in the larger sense, an attack on artistic freedom, all our freedoms."
"A clampdown on them is also an attack on Ambedkarite values and Dalit struggles, which we shall not let in our unified efforts to save the constitution and in particular the inclusive values of pluralism and equality enshrined in it. Both these artists were collaborating in a line up of more than a dozen artists including the city's best poets, rappers, classical musicians and stand up artists who had voluntarily agreed to be part of the event, having given up commercial new years assignments, to celebrate the spirit of unity and bring in a new year of hope and equality," they said in a statement.
They also pointed out that it is ironic that the police grants permission to commercial new year concerts that are likely to cause more disorder, they were refusing to grant permission to a concert that is celebrating peace, unity and secularism. " In no way shall we give up, this only strengthens our resolve. Several more programmes are lined up and we shall soon collaborate with each one of you to ensure our message of unity peace secularism and our protest against divisive CAA, NPR and nationwide NRC reach one and all. So stay close and stay tuned! Let this experience only make us stronger. We are still reeling from this and closing matters, but announcements of future programmes already in the pipeline shall follow later today," the team said.
Despite the police not giving them permission for the concert, the anti-CAA protesters stated that they will be walking Carter Road at 8 pm, "All friends and compatriots who want to celebrate new years on the streets of Mumbai singing songs of resistance, expressing solidarities for each of our struggles and bringing in a new year of peace, unity and secularism in India. Because the streets of Mumbai are ours and no one can take that away from us! Unity Rocks."