Regional singer Gonda, 3 others arrested for hate song on YouTube
A regional singer from Gonda district, Varun Upadhyaya alias Varun Bahar, and three others were arrested by the Lucknow police on Friday for posting a hate song on YouTube -- ‘Jo na bole Jai Shri Ram, usko bhejo kabristan’ (Send anyone who doesn’t say ‘Jai Shri Ram’ to the graveyard).
Senior superintendent of police (SSP), Lucknow, Kalanidhi Naithani said those arrested included Varun Bahar, who sang the song, lyricists Santosh Yadav and Mukesh Pandey, also from Gonda, and Lucknow-based Rajesh Kumar Verma, the operator of the YouTube channel ‘Janta Musicals and Pictures’ through which the song was posted online.
“Their statements are being recorded for further investigation. The channel operator was taken into custody from his house in Aliganj’s Triveni Nagar and the other three from their native places in Gonda’s Mankapur area. They were arrested after initial probe suggested their involvement in making and circulating the hate song,” said the SSP.
Naithani said that an FIR under the Indian Penal Code’s section 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) had been registered by the social media monitoring cell at the Hazratganj police station on Wednesday.
The SSP said that any person found guilty under section 153-A could be punished with imprisonment for a term that may extend to one year or with fine or both. He also issued a warning to people against uploading or circulating any hate song or message on the social media.
“The FIR was registered after the police came to know about the disruptive song having been posted online,” he said, adding that the cops were questioning the arrested men to find out if they had uploaded similar videos / songs on YouTube or other social media platforms.
The three-minute song, which went viral on the social media, drew the ire of thousands for inciting violence, following which multiple FIRs were lodged against Bahar across the country.
Soon after the controversy erupted, the singer appealed to right-wing groups like the Bajrang Dal and the Hindu Yuva Vahini to come to his rescue.
He also told media persons that he had not taken the name of any religion. Later, he said he regretted his action and that the song was sung in passion and the controversy should be put to rest.
Bahar completed a professional course from the Bhatkhande Music University of Lucknow and has been singing for 12 years.