Noted Kathak dancer Manjari Chaturvedi on Friday claimed that her qawwali performance was “deliberately” stopped midway by officials of the Uttar Pradesh government during an official cultural programme at a private hotel in Lucknow, PTI reported. However, the Culture Department of the state government has denied the accusation.

She said during her performance on Thursday, the music was stopped and an announcement was made for the next act. “I did my first sequence, which was on Vrindavan, and while I was performing that and still on stage, the music stopped,” Chaturvedi added. “When you are on the stage, you cannot shout or say things, so I turned around to see [towards the technical person] and saw that music has been stopped midway. So I realised that music has been stopped deliberately, because otherwise why would the anchor come and announce the other act. Later, when I asked the technicians, they said that there was no technical glitch.”

The dancer said she was allotted 45 minutes for her act and since the music was recorded she did not cross the time limit. “I heard the officials coming from the side of the stage, and saying that ‘yahan qawwali nahi chalegi’ [qawwali will not be played here],” she said.

Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music.

An official of the Culture Department claimed that due to bad weather, they decided that only two presentations by artists will be made. “What she is saying is not true,” the official added. “Her qawwali was over, and she was stopped for next performance as there was no time. Her allegations are baseless.”

In a Facebook post, Chaturvedi said the Uttar Pradesh government has told her the programme with qawwali will be part of the statehood celebrations on January 27. It will also be attended by Chief Minister Adityanath, she added.