12/22/2009, 00.00
INDIA
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BJP leader sponsors Christmas concert attended by Christians, Muslims and Hindus

by Nirmala Carvalho
Some 4,000 people attend the Festival of Christmas held in Bandra, Mumbai. Titled ‘Let us celebrate the birth of Jesus together”, it was sponsored by Ashish Shelar, the new face of the local BJP.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Supari Talao Ground in Bandra, Mumbai, hosted a Christmas concert attended by Christians, Hindus and Muslims. The event was organised to aid Atmavishwas, a NGO, and was sponsored by Ashish Shelar, the rising star of the local wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The 36-year-old attorney heads the Hindu nationalist party at the State level. The theme of the event was “Let us celebrate the birth of Jesus together”.

Nearly 4,000 people came to the Christmas festival to hear carols like ‘Holy Night’ and some original compositions like ‘It’s Christmas Day today’ written and performed by Bashir Sheikh, a Muslim singer.

The event ended in a sour note when police moved to stop the concert because of the noise.

For organisers, the police was unfair, but they complied with the injunction to avoid politicising the event.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Ashish Shelar said that the Christmas festival was an initiative designed to focus on ‘expression through culture”.  

For him, India’s secular values are enshrined in the constitution. “As a lawyer, I have defended the rights of the Christian community and it is admirable that it has never demanded anything illegal, and is known for dialogue, tolerance and peace.”

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