Chicago: The Federation of Indian Associations – Chicago roundly condemned recent statements by Bollywood playback singer Mika Singh about Pakistan, just days before he is to perform at India’s Independence Day celebrations in Chicago and Houston.
At a press conference Aug. 8, FIA-Chicago released a statement excoriating Singh for what it considered a statement that was incendiary and hurtful to the sentiments of a large segment of the Indian diaspora.
Recently, Singh released a video where he said he would be performing in the U.S. for “Humara Hindustan” and “Humara Pakistan.” Singh has since backtracked and apologized for his statement, and tried to smooth feathers all round.
FIA organizers said they held a board meeting in Rosemont, IL Aug. 7, and drafted the resolution. The resolution condemns Singh for articulating anti-national comments that runs counter to the ethos of Indian patriotic sentiments, especially at a time when tensions are high on the border and actual conflicts have taken place and soldiers killed. The FIA said it is unable to reconcile with the views expressed by Singh and therefore strongly denounces the singer’s statement.
President of FIA-Chicago Kanti N. Patel expressed a deep sense of disappointment against the Bollywood singer indicating it was seemingly unpatriotic and unbecoming of a responsible Indian citizen.
Singh received threats from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Cine Workers Association leader Amey Khopkar, Indian media reported. “If Mika Singh performs for Pak, will welcome him in MNS style,” India Today reported Khopkar saying.
In the U.S., organizations and several Indian-Americans protested Singh’s statements and held meetings to decide on the action to be taken.
The playback singer sent a retraction over social media to clear the air just days before his U.S. appearances.
“People are thinking that I’m going to perform in Chicago and Houston for Pakistanis, which is completely wrong. I’m doing this show only for Hindustanis. I’ll be sending you people videos to prove it,” Singh declared on social media. “I am always proud to be an Indian,” he added.
“I spoke to MNS leader Amey Khopkar over the phone and requested him to not worry. I also assured Raj Thackeray that I will be performing only for India,” Singh said, adding the salutation – ‘Jai Maharashtra’.
Meanwhile, FIA-Chicago’s Patel said there is a sense of solidarity among the 50 plus community organizations of FIA to express a united denouncement.
Trustee of FIA-Chicago Iftekhar Shareef, initiated the resolution proposal on the floor and received a unanimous approval by the members of the Executive Board and by the Board of Trustees of FIA-Chicago. The resolution demands an apology and further asks Singh to rescind his singing performances that it claims, seek to glorify a nation that has historically been against India. Shareef said Singh’s comments were deeply hurtful and demanded immediate retraction and an unconditional public apology. While Singh has an inherent right to express his views, Shareef said hurting the patriotic sentiments of Indians crosses the line.
Shareef, while addressing the media called upon the Indian American community of Texas to oppose the singer in every way possible because of his statements. He further stated that if Mika Singh performs at Pakistan Independence Day in Houston, he will be disappointing his fans in Chicago as well as across the globe.