At the request of the Indian government, YouTube removed a song by popular Punjabi musician Kanwar Grewal that called for the release of Sikh prisoners.
The song, titled Rihaee, was released a week ago and had over 700,000 views before it was removed. In the song, Grewal asked the government why it is against Sikhs, adding that Punjabis only want the release of Sikh prisoners.
The release of Sikh prisoners was a major issue in the recently concluded by-election for the parliamentary seat in the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency in the state of Punjabi. The center-right-centric state political party Shiromani Akali Dal fileded the sister of Balwant Singh Roajoana, who is on death row for the murder of former chief minister Beant Singh, for the seat.
Shiromani Akali Dal’s president Sukhbir Singh Badal called for the immediate overturning of the ban of the song, saying that the song expressed the sentiments of the community, which is concerned at the continued incarceration of Sikhs even after their prison terms are complete.
“Kanwar Grewal has done nothing more than using poetry to highlight this grievance besides demanding that history books should not be rewritten. This does not call for a ban under any circumstances,” Badal said.