The Assam government today provided security to popular singer Zubeen Garg following a threat from an ULFA anti-talk faction for defying its diktat against singing Hindi songs during the ongoing Rongali Bihu celebrations.
The 'Ya Ali' singer was initially reluctant to accept the security provided to him by the government saying he felt safer among the people than with a security cover, according to top police officers.
He said, "I go to places because people invite me to sing. They love me so much. I feel safe among the masses".
Garg, who was provided with two personal security officers (PSOs) and an escort vehicle, later conceded when explained that the police provides security based on threat perception from insurgent outfits, the officers said.
All the districts had been alerted to make security arrangements wherever the singer had his shows booked across the state, they added.
On the eve of the Assamese Bihu festival, the ULFA-Paresh Baruah faction on April 10 had warned Assam's singers not to sing Hindi songs in the cultural functions for the festival and also the organisers to desist from having dances set to Hindi songs.
Asking the artistes to resist the 'negative influences of Indian culture', the ULFA urged the singers to keep away from Hindi songs "to keep the local culture alive".
In defiance of the threat, Garg sang Hindi songs at the various Bihu public cultural functions to cheers from the crowds.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, noted filmmaker Jahnu Barua and actor Adil Hussain from Assam, who has achieved major success in Bollywood, came out in support of Zubeen.
Gogoi today Tweeted, "Music transcends barriers of caste, creed or religion. It should be allowed to flourish. Music can make the world a better place to live in".