Bhangra dance troupe visit stirs controversy
June 6, 2004
The visit of the Bhangra dance troupe, which came to Guyana for the Arrival Day celebrations last month has sparked controversy.
The Guyana Indian Heritage Association (GIHA) has alleged that Avinash Gupta, Indian High Commissioner to Guyana was partisan with regard to the dance troupe and has dispatched a letter to Natwar Singh, Minister of External Affairs, Government of India.
But the Indian High Commissioner has refuted GIHA's claims.
GIHA, in a release said the letter states that Gupta allowed the troupe to be used for PPP partisan politicking through the Indian Arrival Committee (IAC) which had advertised the troupe's performance at their Arrival Day events before the visit was announced by Gupta and Minister of Culture, Gail Teixeira.
The letter, written by GIHA President Ryhaan Shah, was copied to Gupta and to Hairsh Dogra, Additional Secretary (Latin American Countries), Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India.
When contacted Gupta said the group visited the country under the Cultural Exchange Programme signed between the two countries during President Jagdeo's visit to India last year.
As required under the provisions of the programme the troupe was the guest of the government, which organized the programme, Gupta said. He added that likewise when a cultural group from Guyana visits India it will be the guest of the Indian government, which will co-ordinate its programme.
He said the whole concept of democracy is about independence of views or expressions by individuals or organizations.