Raj Bhanot, co-founder of the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, reportedly confronted Mudgal saying that he would not tolerate her anti-Modi and anti-Hindu stand. Ritu Jha reports.
The California-based Alliance of South Asians Taking Action has started a petition demanding that a Sunnyvale Hindu Temple board member publicly apologise to well-known classical singer Shubha Mudgal for threatening her at an concert.
The petition says Mudgal was threatened for her political views just before her concert at the temple on June 1, which was organised by the Bay Area Telugu Association along with Kalalaya USA.
“I am angry, you cannot insult a singer like that,” said Preeti Mangala Shekar, an ASATA member who has initiated the petition. Shekar was present at the concert but got to know of the incident only on Saturday. This is a major problem of Hindutva censorship, she told Rediff.com.
“The artist had come to perform and was invited by the organisers. What happened is outrageous,” said Shekar. The petition is to let people know that such acts will not be accepted, she added.
Ashima Yadav, a close associate of Mudgal, told Rediff.com that she was shocked at what had happened. Yadav said she had been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past eight years and had never heard if such a thing happening to an artist.
Yadav was not present when the incident took place but met Mudgal just after the concert.
Recounting what Mudgal had told her, Yadav said Raj Bhanot, co-founder of the Sunnyvale Hindu Temple, had confronted Mudgal saying that he would not tolerate her anti-Modi and anti-Hindu stand.
Bhanot reportedly said he had been getting a lot of complaints and emails saying Mudgal was anti-Prime Minister Narendra Modi and he wanted her to apologise.
Bhanot reportedly said Mudgal had written a letter to former prime minister Manmohan Singh against Modi, and that Mudgal clarified saying she had signed an appeal to the Indian voters to vote for secular candidates and challenged who Bhanot was to demand an apology from her.
Bhanot told her he was the treasurer of the temple and if he had known she was performing there, he would not have not rented out the place for her concert.
However, speaking to Rediff.com about the incident, Bhanot said, “I was just an attendee at the concert but Mudgal was rude and insulted people.”
“Some people from the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh wanted to protest against her at the concert because of her views against Modi. They wanted my permission, but I advised them against it as she made the statement a couple of months ago. They insisted she apologise but she refused.”
Bhanot said he had been receiving a lot of emails asking why he was allowing her to perform at the temple. He said someone had started a petition asking Mudgal to apologise to the Hindu community for her anti-Modi stand and also appealed to Hindus to boycott her.
“I boycott her shows. If an artist insults my community why should I support her," asked Bhanot.
However, he refused to divulge who had initiated the petition against Mudgal.
Kalyan Kattamuri, BATA president and concert organiser, said he was not aware of such an incident.
Chandru Bhambhra, HSS bay area president, said there was no 'officially planned protest' at the concert.
Image: Singer Shubha Mudgal