Pakistani singers and artists visiting India have always been under the false impression that they are treated like gods for being outstanding performers in the art which is next to religious faith for Indian Hindus. They are all praise, always, for the secular attributes of the Indian society but when an occasion occurs, it reveals the ugly face of tolerance and secularism. It has happened with Adnan Sami, son of Pakistan’s legendary fighter pilot and now with the nephew of Pakistan’s legendary sufi singer. According to reports, acclaimed Pakistani sufi singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, the nephew of legendary Pakistani sufi singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was arrested for violating India’s Foreign Exchange Management Act. He was detained on Sunday at Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International Airport by officials of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence for allegedly carrying undeclared currency to the tune of 1.24 lakh US dollars, along with Pakistani and Indian currency. The comments and blogs appearing in the cyber space immediately after his arrest reflect that Indians are rejoicing at this unfortunate development and terming his detention as a “good catch”. A comment on the Indian Express goes like this:
I think now it’s over. We should stop these Pakistanis and ban (them) to come to India. I am protesting a lot since this is not first time .These people can not control their habits to disturb India’s economy. I feel we have great singer to sing the song and we do not require the people like Rahat (Fateh Ali Khan), Adnan (Sami) etc.
According to media reports, Khan (37) was detained along with his entourage of 14 persons at the airport around 3.45 pm and was interrogated by the DRI officials. He was to board an Emirates flight to Karachi via Dubai (EK 517), scheduled to take off around 4 pm, when the currency was found in his baggage. Khan was here to perform at an Indo-Pakistan peace initiative.
“The questioning will go on for another five hours, at least. All the 15 are under detention. A decision on their arrest has not been taken,” a source said.
As per norms, a foreign national cannot carry more than $ 5,000 in cash and $ 5,000 in other instruments — a greater amount has to be declared to the Customs Department. A person can take out of the country an amount equivalent to what he had declared on entering.
“It is a critical decision because we all know Khan is an acclaimed artiste. He did not get the money from outside, but got it while in India. The law, however, says not declaring this amount is a technical violation,” a senior Indian official told the media. According to DRI sources, for his performances in India, Khan was paid in Indian rupees and dollars.
“Rahat and his troupe members are still being questioned. Depending on their statements and the gravity of the offence, we will decide whether to arrest them or not,” said S Dutt Majumdar, Chairman of the Central Board of Excise and Customs.
According to media reports, the singer has been allowed to go after 24 hours of interrogation. He has, however been barred from leaving the country and his passport has been held by the authorities. A large number of his Indian fans have regretted the incidents through comments and messages. The singer has no immunity from prosecution if he commits any crime but the way media commentators reacted to his detention was disappointing. The above post does not justify the crime committed in violation of foreign exchange management law.
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