Last-minute withdrawal of permission to an international music festival by the Goa government may snowball into a diplomatic spat, with a senior Russian embassy official today dubbing it as a "shameless and unfriendly gesture".
The two-day 'Great Live Music Festival' organised by a Russian company was to start in Goa yesterday, but state government withdrew its consent at the last minute.
Well-known bands from India such as Indian Ocean and Parikrama as well as Russian bands were to perform at the festival.
"We consider the disruption of the festival to be shameless and frankly unfriendly gesture on the part of state authorities," Alexey Mzareulov, Deputy Consul General of the Russian Federation in Mumbai told reporters here.
Local BJP MLA Michael lobo had opposed the event, saying that it was being held in the vicinity of a church.
Refusal under "false pretences" at the last moment had angered Indian and international musicians and tourists and would inevitably affect the popularity of Goa, he said.
"Such reckless actions are contrary to the state's intention to turn itself into world-class resort" and also contrary to the traditions of friendship and mutual understanding between the Russian and the Indian peoples, Mzareulov said.
"We hope that authorities will be able to find an honourable way out of this situation," he said.