Canadian-Indian rapper Shubhneet Singh is facing backlash from conservative politicians and social media users accusing him of being a Khalistan supporter, after the rapper’s post from March recirculated around social media. Several cricket players like Virat Kohli, Hardick Panday and KL Rahul had unfollowed the rapper on Instagram following the controversy.
Singh’s tour in India in September was cancelled, after sponsor BoAt announced they were no longer sponsoring the tour as they announced in a post on their X, formerly Twitter, account.
“At boAt, while our commitment to the incredible music community runs deep, we are first and foremost a true Indian brand. Therefore, when we became aware of the remarks made by artist Shubh earlier this year, we chose to withdraw our sponsorship from the tour.”
BookMyShow, the online ticket portal confirmed on their X account that they were refunding customers who had purchased ticket’s for Shubh’s concert in Mumbai and other cities.
Singer Shubhneet Singh’s Still Rollin Tour for India stands cancelled. To that end, BookMyShow has initiated a complete refund of the ticket amount for all consumers who had purchased tickets for the show. The refund will be reflected within 7-10 working days in the customer's…— BookMyShow (@bookmyshow) September 20, 2023
In light of these accusations, Indian rapper AP Dhillon released a lengthy statement on his Instagram stories where he publicly sided with the ‘We Rollin’ rapper, condemning the way artists are targeted by special interest and political groups.
“As an artist it has become almost impossible to stay focused on your craft and do what you love. I try to be mindful of everyone’s sentiments but it has gotten to a point where we have to second and triple guess our every move due to the fear of unintentionally fueling even more division.”
“Spread love, not hate,” wrote the ‘Brown Munde’ rapper. “Let’s start thinking for ourselves and not let hateful influences program our beliefs. We are ALL one. Let’s not let man made social constructs divide us. Division has gotten us to this point but unity is the key to the future.”
Shubhneet Singh addressed the backlash in a lengthy statement posted on his Instagram account and said he found the allegations “extremely disheartening.”
“My intent in resharing that post on my story was only to pray for Punjab as there were reports of electricity and internet shutdowns throughout the state. There was no other thought behind it, and I definitely didn’t intend to hurt anyone’s sentiments.”
The backlash to Shubh arrives after relations between India and Canada took a sour turn when Justin Trudeau publicly accused the Indian government for being involved in the death of the Sikh leader Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who had been a vocal supporter of setting up a separate state for Sikhs living in India.
“Any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil is an unacceptable violation of our sovereignty,” said Trudeau.
“In the strongest possible terms, I continue to urge the government of India to cooperate with Canada to get to the bottom of this matter.”
After the Instagram post by Shubhneet went viral, the youth wing of the BJP party in India BJYMP filed an FIR against the rapper with the Mumbai Police, calling Singh a Khalistan supporter.
“Shubh is openly a Khalistani supporter,” the complaint read. “And if he is allowed to hold a concert here, he will be influencing a lot of youth in Mumbai and our country to support his agenda…He has evidently proven that he is a pro-Khalistani activist and openly supports their agenda and [he] is also influencing the youth of the country to do the same and wage a war against the Government of India by posting such absurd and derogatory post about Government of India.”