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AAI Caves In To Hindutva Trolls and Cancels TM Krishna Concert; Singer Says, ‘Give Me a Stage Anywhere in Delhi.. Will Come and Sing’

The concert was reportedly cancelled following a vicious campaign by Hindutva hardliners on Twitter.

Airport Authority of India (AAI) has cancelled carnatic singer and Magsaysay Award winner TM Krishna’s concert to be held in New Delhi on Saturday, November 17. AAI’s decision followed a vicious campaign by right-wing trolls on Twitter.  The concert was part of the Dance and Music in the Park festival — a two–day event that was to be held over this weekend — at the Nehru Park in Chanakyapuri. The event was jointly organised by the Society for the Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth (SPIC MACAY) and the AAI.

Reportedly, the AAI sent an email to SPIC MACAY on Tuesday, November 15, which read, “Because of some exigencies of work, we are not in a position to go ahead with the dance (and) music concert jointly organised with SPIC MACAY on 17th and 18th November, 2018 at Nehru Park, New Delhi. Hence, we request you to kindly postpone to a new date and inform all concerned. The new date will be discussed with SPIC-MACAY soon.”

Krishna responded to the cancellation with defiance. He told the Indian Express, “Give me a stage anywhere in Delhi on November 17, I will come and sing. We just can’t let ourselves be cowed down by this kind of threats.”

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The announcement that Krishna would be performing at the festival was tweeted by AAI on Saturday, which was also re-tweeted by the singer. This was followed by a targeted campaign by right-wing trolls who demanded that the event be cancelled since AAI is funded through public money. Tweets using phrases such as ‘anti-India’ and ‘Urban Naxal’ to refer to Krishna began circulating and some even tagged union ministers Suresh Prabhu and Piyush Goyal.

Krishna had initially said that SPIC MACAY had informed him early on Tuesday, November 15, that AAI would be holding the concert amid extra security protection.

Guruprasad Mohapatra, the AAI chairman, however, denied that the festival was cancelled because of the right-wing furore. Mohapatra told IE, “We have some issues. Some exigency has come up and we are not free that day. Whatever note we have given in the media, that is all (and) there is nothing more I want to say on this.”

Krishna, who is outspoken about secularism and casteism, has been targeted by right–wing trolls on previous occasions as well. His call to widen the repertoire of carnatic music by incorporating Christian hymnals was met with similar unwarranted outrage by Hindu nationalists.

In January 2018, his concert in Tiruppur was threatened by Hindutva hardliners but was held with additional security. Likewise, in August 2018, his international concert to be held in a temple in the USA was cancelled by Hindutva groups after which a group of music enthusiasts had organised his concert at the Georgia University on the same date that he was supposed to sing at the temple.

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