A Pakistani and two Indian-origin people based in the US have been “blacklisted” by the government for their alleged anti-India activities.
The move came after Shiv Sena MP Rahul Shewale wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah apprising them about the alleged anti-India activities of Rehan Siddiqui, a US-based Pakistani, and Rakesh Kaushal and Darshan Mehta.
The trio will not be able to travel to India following the blacklisting. In a letter to Mr Shewale, Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy said the issue was examined by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) following his complaint.
“The MEA has apprised that Rehan Siddiqui, Rakesh Kaushal and Darshan Mehta have been blacklisted on the recommendations of the Consulate General of India, Houston,” Mr Reddy wrote to Mr Shewale.
Rehan Siddiqui runs a radio station in Houston and organises cultural events with artistes from Bollywood.
Rakesh Kaushal and Darshan Mehta allegedly assist Rehan Siddiqui in organising such events.
Mr Reddy also conveyed to the MP that the Indian Embassy in Washington DC and the Consulate General in Houston have been requested to engage with prominent influencers, cultural bodies and bona-fide “Bollywood-affiliated” local entities to ensure that appropriate message is conveyed to Indian actors and artistes so that they disassociate themselves from such anti-national elements.
Rahul Shewale, the Shiv Sena MP from Mumbai South Central, said the government has advised the Bollywood celebrities not to participate in events organised by the trio.
In his complaint to Home Minister Shah in February 2020, Mr Shewale had said Rehan Siddiqui is the owner of a radio station in Houston and promoter of cultural events and has been allegedly involved in anti-India activities and anti-India propaganda.
The MP claimed that Rehan Siddiqui’s radio station was funded by US-based Pakistanis and the Pakistan government.
Mr Shewale said that after the February 2019 terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, Rehan Siddiqui “launched a vicious anti-India campaign and tried to malign the dignity and honour” of the Prime Minister.
Forty CRPF jawans were killed in the terror attack in Pulwama. India had carried out an air strike at a terror camp in Pakistan, days after the Pulwama attack.
Mr Shewale has now demanded investigations by the Enforcement Directorate and the National Investigation Agency on the Bollywood celebrities who had participated in the events organised by Rehan Siddiqui and his two accomplices.