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UP police arrest 4 for ‘communally sensitive’ song

By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON JUL 27, 2019 05:55 AM IST

LUCKNOW: A regional singer from Uttar Pradesh’s Gonda district and three others were arrested by Lucknow police on Friday for allegedly posting on YouTube a three-minute song with strong communal overtones.

Lucknow senior superintendent of police (SSP) Kalanidhi Naithani said those arrested are Varun Upadhyaya alias Varun Bahar, who sang the song, and lyricists Santosh Yadav and Mukesh Pandey, who are also from Gonda. Rajesh Kumar Verma, the Lucknow-based operator of the YouTube channel that posted the song, was also picked up.

“Their statements are being recorded . The channel operator was taken into custody from his house in Aliganj’s Triveni Nagar and the other three from Gonda’s Mankapur area. They were arrested after an initial probe highlighted their involvement in making and circulating the hate song,” he said.

The SSP said an FIR was registered against them at Hazratganj police station on Wednesday on a complaint by the state police’s social media monitoring cell. They have been booked under section 153-A of the Indian Penal Code (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony).

“The FIR was registered after the police came to know about the disruptive song having been posted online,” he added.

The song, which went viral on social media, has drawn the ire of thousands, following which multiple FIRs have been lodged against Bahar across the country.

Soon after the controversy erupted, the singer told reporters that he regretted his action and that the song was sung in a moment of passion. He also clarified that he had not taken the name of any religion. Earlier, he appealed to right-wing groups to bail him out.

Bahar finished a professional course from Bhatkhande Music University of Lucknow and has been singing for 12 years.

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