Violinist sues Tower Hamlets after his name goes ‘pubic’

10:58 15 June 2012

A Bengali violinist is suing Tower Hamlets council after they replaced his name with an offensive term in a festival programme.

Abdul Shahid, of Aldgate, claims the council has cost him his dignity and livelihood after they printed his first name as “Bal”, which means “pubic hair” in Bengali.

The programme, which featured the inaccurate caption next to a picture of him with a violin, was circulated to more than 85,000 people ahead of last year’s Baishakhi Mela Festival in Brick Lane.

Mr Shahid, 43, is now suing the council for £300,000 in damages, claiming the incident has cost him financially and led to him being subjected to ridicule.

He had previously performed across the world and was featured regularly on Bengali TV channels.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, he said: “My name has been destroyed, it’s a disaster.

“I have lost my livelihood. I was a very popular player, but since this has happened, I haven’t been out of the house much at all. I only feel comfortable going out at night.”

He added: “I have asked the council to write a letter of apology, but they didn’t do anything.”

In a statement released to The Advertiser, Tower Hamlets council confirmed they had received notice of legal proceedings but declined to provide any further comment on the case.

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