Moosewala’s poshtumously released song taken down from YouTube

Updated on Jun 27, 2022 03:32 AM IST

Faridkot Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala’s posthumously released song SYL has been removed by YouTube from its platform in India following a legal complaint by the government

hubhdeep Singh Sidhu Musewala during election campaign at Khiva Kalan village in Mansa constituency,Punjab.
hubhdeep Singh Sidhu Musewala during election campaign at Khiva Kalan village in Mansa constituency,Punjab.

Faridkot Punjabi singer Sidhu Moosewala’s posthumously released song SYL has been removed by YouTube from its platform in India following a legal complaint by the government.

Released on June 23, the song garnered nearly 27 million views and 3.3 million likes on the singer’s YouTube page in less than three days before it was withheld on the video sharing platform in the country. The song, however, is available in other countries and trending globally. It also shows up on the chart of songs trending in India on YouTube.

“This content is not available on this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government,” said a message on the song link.

The title SYL referred to the Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal and the lyrics warned that Punjab will not share its river waters if the injustices meted out to it are not stopped, bringing up years of militancy in the state that led to widespread fear and social tumult.

An official familiar with the development requesting anonymity said the government objected that the SYL canal issue is a sub-judice matter and raised concerns regarding some visuals in the video.

The song is still available on audio streaming platforms. A 14-second teaser of the song is also available on Moosewala’s official pages on Facebook and Instagram. The song, leaked on social media a day earlier, was officially uploaded on YouTube at 6pm on June 23.

Moosewala’s family termed as “unjust” the decision to ban SYL on YouTube and appealed to the government to withdraw the complaint. Chamkaur Singh, Moosewala’s uncle, said he has spoken to his brother and father of the slain singer Balkaur Singh and they have not got any notice regarding the song.

“The song raised issues of Punjab and its people, it should not be banned. Sidhu had raised the voice of Punjab through his song and it should be allowed to reach everyone,” he said. “They can ban the song, but they cannot take Sidhu out of the hearts of the people. We will discuss legal options with lawyers.”

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) opposed the takedown. “Sidhu Moosewala’s song #SYL captures Punjabis’ sentiments on Riparian principle on river waters and on Bandi Singhs,” the SAD tweeted. “Any move to ban it on any pretext would be ill advised and against the Punjabis’ democratic rights and freedom of expression. Shiromani Akali Dal opposes any such move.”

Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, who went by the stage name Sidhu Moosewala, brought up the politically complex four-decade-old issue of the construction of the SYL canal. Visuals accompanying the song showcased events Punjab witnessed since 1947. Apart from the SYL dispute with neighbouring Haryana, the song talked about the post-Independence undivided Punjab, the issue of states’ sovereignty under a federal system, the 1984 riots, the incident of the Sikh flag being hoisted at the Red Fort during the farmers’ agitation, and called for the release of Sikhs taken political prisoners.

The song appeared to glorify Sikh militant Balwinder Singh Jattana, who killed two officials at the SYL head office at Chandigarh in 1990. The visuals also featured images of militant leader Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale and army movement during Operation Bluestar. Jattana, who was associated with pro-Khalistan outfit Babbar Khalsa, along with three accomplices, killed the officials preparing plans for the construction of the canal. Their action halted the construction of the canal and it has still not resumed.

Moosewala was shot dead on May 29 at Jawahar Ke village in Punjab’s Mansa a day after the state government curtailed his security cover.

Jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi has been named as the prime suspect in the murder case. Soon after the murder, Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar took responsibility for the killing, saying it was revenge for the murder of Vicky Middukhera, who was a close friend of the Bishnoi gang.

Punjab police have said that a total of 13 accused have been arrested in the murder case so far, including two main shooters Priyavrat Fauji (26) and Kashish (24), arrested by Delhi police on June 20.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Parteek Singh Mahal is a multimedia correspondent based at Faridkot in Punjab. He covers medical education, politics and Punjab police.

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