Op/Ed: Why did Police arrest Punjabi singer and lyricist Shree Brar?

The arrest of the singer and lyricist Shree Brar (Pawandeep Singh Mohali) for allegedly glorifying lawlessness in one of his songs is raising eyebrows as he released the song a month ago. The masses are alleging that he has been arrested for writing the song ‘Kisaan Anthem’ about the ongoing farmer agitation at the borders of Delhi against three draconian farm laws promulgated by the BJP-led central government of India.

Brar was arrested by CIA staff, Patiala, from Sector 91, Mohali on January 5. Patiala Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Vikram Jeet Duggal said that he had released a song ‘JAAN’ on online platform YouTube with provocative lyrics promoting violence and antisocial acts to the extent of even providing shelter to the criminals and gangsters, and encouraging them to break jails.

“The lyrics of the song very much encourage the youth to commit crimes and anti-social acts,” the SSP said.

An FIR was registered against the singer under sections 500 (defamation), 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory), 502 (sale of printed or engraved substance containing defamatory matter), 505, 115, 116 and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC at Civil Lines police station.

However, the Punjabis are not accepting the reason cited by Police and they are counting this action in the series of actions taken by it against those who vital played a role in the agitation against the contentious laws. Slapping attempt to murder charges against the farmers who protested against former BJP minister Trikshan Sood by dumping cattle dung at the gate of his residence in Hoshiarpur, and registering case against three youngsters who played a leading role in ensuring boycott of BJP leader Harjit Grewal for vilifying the stir are previous instances, though attempt to murder charges were revoked on Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s order following widespread resentment among Punjabis against this FIR.

It is being perceived that “the Police have taken action against Brar due to his song on farmer agitation, that inspired scores of youths to join it at the national capital of India”.

This popular perception made the Chief Minister issue a statement in this regard, wherein he has termed as correct and justified the arrest of the Punjabi singer. “Promoting gangsterism and gun culture in this manner was absolutely wrong, he said, adding that the case had been registered correctly in the matter which related to an old song of the singer”, he said.

Captain Amarinder claimed that the arrest had no connection with the singer’s video in support of the protesting farmers, which in fact was appreciable. “However, his good work now could not condone the negative impact of his old song encouraging youth to pick up guns”, he added.

Once again he cited that Punjab is a border state and “facing ongoing threats from across the border”.

 

However, this action is drawing flaks over social  media as arresting him in a month old song gives everyone reason to raise questions over it. “If shree brar caught a case over that song fuck fam we would be locked up every release date”, said Chani Nattan, in a tweet.

Another Twitter user Manwinder says, “Punjabi singer shree brar  (the one who wrote the kisaan anthem) was arrested “for promoting gun culture in one of his songs”, this kind of stuff is everywhere, why was he arrested?”

“India is so blatantly against Punjab Imao. Arresting Shree Brar, the artist who was one of the main creators of Kissan Anthem, for promoting gun violence? Why didn’t they arrest Sidhu Moosewala, Diljit, Gippy, and countless others who sang about guns before the riots too?”, opines another Twitter user.

Notably, the Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal) has also taken a stand in favour of the singer.

The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) Manjinder Sirsa condemned the arrest. “Punjab government is trying to gag the voice of farmers and curb the protest momentum with this action”, he said.

Terming the arrest, torture & subsequent isolation of Punjabi song writer Shree Brar by Patiala Police as vindictive & against policing norms, Youth Akali Dal (Badal) president Parambans Singh Bunty Romana said the writer was arrested by Punjab govt on directions of Amit Shah as punishment for writing the Kisan Anthem.

“The song – ‘Swaraja piche Barricade paaye hoi ne’ – inspired lakhs of people to join the sangharsh, rattled the Centre & home ministry. This is why Shree Brar has been singled out for punishment over a song he wrote a month ago,” said the YAD (B) president.

On the one hand, Captain Amarinder Singh is repeatedly refuting the allegations that “he is playing in hands of the Central government”, while on the other, he himself is making his role dubious in respect of farmers’ stir that is giving sleepless nights to the Central government.

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