After Moosewala’s SYL: YouTube pulls another Punjabi song following government complaint

Video-sharing platform YouTube on Friday removed popular Punjabi singer Kanwar Grewal’s song “Rihaee,” which calls for the release of Sikh prisoners, following a complaint from the Indian government.

“Content unavailable. This content is unavailable on this country’s domain due to a legal complaint from the government,” the social media platform said.

It comes days after YouTube removed slain Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala’s song ‘SYL’, which was posted posthumously and garnered nearly 28 million views and 3.3 million likes in two days. following a similar government complaint.

The song posted last week by Grewal, who has nearly seven lakh subscribers on YouTube, had nearly seven lakh views before it was taken down. The song asked the government why it was going against the Sikh community and said that the Punjabis are only asking for Sikh prisoners to be released from jails.

The demand for the release of Sikh prisoners was a key issue in the recently concluded indirect poll at Sangrur Lok Sabha headquarters where Shiromani Akali Dal had lined up Balwant Singh Rajoana’s sister who is on death row for murdering the former minister Chief Beant Singh. Rajoana was sentenced to death in July 2007.

Meanwhile, Akali Dal Chairman Sukhbir Singh Badal has called on the Center to immediately revoke the ‘ban’ on Grewal’s song, which he says reflects the feelings of the community, which is unsettled by the continued incarceration of Sikhs despite the end of their prison terms.

“Kanwar Grewal did nothing more than use poetry to highlight this grievance in addition to demanding that the history books not be rewritten. It does not call for a ban in any way,” Badal added.

Asking the Center to reconsider its decision, Badal said, “Such bans have the capacity to create a false impression about India. We cannot be seen as suppressing the freedom of expression which is enshrined in our Constitution”.

He said India is known as the largest democracy in the world which upholds pluralism. “The Union government should ensure that the country stays that way. Democracies that do not respect freedom of speech and expression cannot remain viable for long,” he said.

Badal, who is also an MP, said he would also address this issue during the next session of parliament. “The banning of the song ‘Rihaee’ comes shortly after the banning of the song ‘SYL’ from Moosewala, which also reflected the aspirations of the Punjabis who do not want their water diverted to Haryana through the canal. Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL), ” he said.

Badal said SAD will also ask the Center to disclose the specific complaint in both cases and who registered them. “We will also demand a broader discussion on this issue to ensure that corrective action can be taken and this trend is halted,” he added.

Ahead of this year’s Assembly poll in Punjab in February this year, BJP state official Gajendra Singh Shekhawat assured a ‘positive development’ soon from the Center side on ‘Sikh political prisoners’ who were to be released under a 2019 agreement. government notice. The assurance had come after some Sikh organizations approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard.

Previously, in October 2019, the Center had, on the eve of the 550th anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak Dev, issued a notification for the release of eight Sikh prisoners and the commutation of the death sentence of one to life imprisonment.

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