New Delhi: Popular video hosting platform YouTube removed slain Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala’s song SYL, released posthumously after his murder, Sunday citing a “legal complaint by the government”.
“This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government,” showed the link to his song, “SYL,” showed. It wasn’t clear what exactly the government had objected to and what were the contents of the complaint.
Uploaded on Moose Wala’s official channel on the video-sharing platform Thursday, SYL was the first song released after his assassination on 29 May. It amassed over 23 million views, over one million within an hour of its broadcasts, along with at least 3.1 million likes.
The title of the song refers to the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal, which is at the centre of a water sharing dispute between Haryana and Punjab over the past 50 years.
Moose Wala, who earlier went by the name of Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, often courted controversy through his songs in which he promoted the use of guns and violence. He has been time and again criticised for “glorifying” separatist leaders through his songs
In SYL, the singer opens with the line: “Give us our social history and our families back. Return Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana to us. As long as you do not give us self-government and authority. We will not even give you a drop of water.”
Through his song, Moose Wala seeks the ‘return’ of Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh and Haryana which were once part of the erstwhile Sikh empire.
His line that not even a “drop of water” will be given to other states is believed to be in response to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) guaranteeing water supply to the residents of Haryana if it forms a government in Haryana.
In his song, Moose Wala purportedly demands the release of Sikh prisoners languishing in jails — which, many believe, is a reference to those people arrested during the agrarian agitation against the now junked three contentious central farm laws. The singer is also said to have made reference to the Nishan Sahib (the Sikh triangular flag) that was hoisted last year by the protesting farmers at the historic Red Fort.
The song featured controversial figures such as Balwinder Singh Jatana, a member of the pro-Khalistan group Babbar Khalsa, who was reportedly involved in the assassination of two officials at Chandigarh’s SYL canal office in July 1990.
Visuals in the song also featured Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, Balwant Singh Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara, and ended with hashtags of #savepunjabwaters and #releasesikhprisoners.
A complex character in life and death, the 28-year-old singer’s assassination had sparked outrage among people, including his fans, over the manner in which he was shot in broad daylight. From celebrities like Canadian rapper Drake to the youth of Punjab, all mourned the death of Moose Wala. Many had commented that the episode reflected the prevailing toxic mix of drug abuse, unemployment, and gang culture in Punjab.
(Edited by Tony Rai)