The Indian-American community in Houston has welcomed the reported move of the Indian authorities to track the activities of a Houston-based Pakistani event manager for allegedly funding anti-India activities in the US.
The community members said that they have repeatedly raised, with both the foreign and the union home ministries, the issue of Rehan Siddiqui, who organises Bollywood galas in the US, raising funds from his events for perpetrating activities against India in the United States.
However, they said that nothing was being done and what irked them most was Siddiqui’s continuing event bookings with Bollywood stars and singers.
Now, with the Pakistani national coming under the Indian government’s radar, the Indian-American community said they are “relieved”.
“You can’t allow any anti-India activities go unnoticed for long and this promoter (Siddiqui) was under investigation for a long time, but results take time,” official sources told PTI.
According to reports, Indian authorities are tracking the activities of Siddiqui, who is also a radio station owner, in the US.
Some well-connected Indian community members alleged the Pakistani national was using huge funds to finance anti-Kashmir activities for the last several years.
His activities, they claimed, gained further momentum after the abrogation of Article 370 that granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Navan D Kaur, a community member, alleged that Siddiqui helped organise an anti-India rally during the “Howdy Modi” event here last September.
A prominent Indian-American community activist told PTI, “The Indian community in Houston is relieved to know that Rehan finally caught the attention of the Indian government for his alleged connection with the Pakistani security agencies and we thank the Indian government for investigating his years of anti-India activities in Houston.”
Rajiv Verma, a community activist, said Siddiqui became a “darling” of the Bollywood industry due to his monopoly over Indian media and the entertainment sector in Houston.
Siddiqui, he said, is making money off the Indian diaspora’s fascination for filmstars and is using his prosperity to attack the country in return.
Arun Mundra, a global community leader associated with various Indian-American organisations, said, “Patriotism and humanity is our top priority. We cannot enjoy any such entertainment which supports terrorism.”
As per media reports on Wednesday, Bollywood star Salman Khan has cancelled a planned show in Houston that was set to be organised by Siddiqui. The event, ‘Up Close & Personal with Bollywood superstar Salman Khan’, was scheduled for 10 April.
The Indian diaspora in Houston welcomed Khan’s move. Uma Bhotla, an Indian national based in Houston, said, “I’m happy that the show has been cancelled.”
According to community activist Verma, the unsuspecting Indian diaspora had no clue “whom they were feeding”. With Khan’s decision, a small spanner has been thrown in the works of anti-India elements present in Houston, he said.
In 2019, Siddiqui grabbed the attention of the media after singer-actor Diljit Dosanjh announced the postponement of his show in the US after the Federation of Western India Cine Employees (FWICE) called him to cancel the gig, allegedly organised by him.
The FWICE had asked the Arjun Patiala actor to pull out from the show in national interest amid growing tensions between the two countries following the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Siddiqui’s upcoming events include ‘Nayaab Lamhe’ with ghazal singer Pankaj Udhas on 13 March and a show with rapper Badshah on 29 March.
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