Thiruvananthapuram: Popular Malayalam singer K.G.Markose was first detained and then released by Saudi Islamic police Saturday while on a tour of Saudi Arabia to hold a stage programme celebrating India's Republic Day.
"The incident occured Friday evening at 7.30 p.m when the singer was proceeding to AL-Qatif near Damamm after having performed in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. He was on a visit to stage a programme celebrating India's Republic Day organised by a Kerala group there," said an official from Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy's office to IANS.
He added: "The reason behind his arrest, as being told to us, is that a notice with Markose's picture in Malayalam was being circulated and this is against the kingdom's laws. What we are given to understand is that the organisers of the musical programme also did not take the required sanction."
Markose also spoke to IANS over telephone.
"Right now, I am in a police station in Dammam and they are verifying my papers and so far there has been no arrest. They have found out that I am on a visit visa and am sure that very soon I would be asked to leave the station. The officials are very nice to me and I have no problems here at all. I have been told that this programme did not have the required permission from authorities," said Markose.
After efforts by various non-resident Malayalis in the Gulf and Oomen Chandy's office, Markose was finally released late Saturday evening.
Markose, who has been a professional singer for the past three decades is a very popular devotional singer and has also sung in Malayalam films.