‘I Have Not Earned For Six Months’. Singer Narrates Tale Of Harassment By Rajasthan Police For YouTube Song On Shivling In Gyanvapi
How putting up promotional posters for a song landed a singer in trouble in the Kota district of Rajasthan.
A 22-year-old man went out with a friend late evening on 17 July to put up promotional posters of a song he had decided to release on YouTube the next day.
The man, Shubham Shikari, lives in the Kota district of Rajasthan. Singing is his hobby that he pursued in his free time while working for a dairy supply chain as a full-time employee.
Shubham planned to put up the posters at a chowk where religious organisations put up banners of upcoming events all the time.
When he was beginning to execute the task, five policeman patrolling the area stopped him and asked what he was doing. Shubham was accompanied by a friends named Ankit Meher. The duo told the police their business and showed them the posters.
One of the cops decided that Shubham was breaking the law and trying to trigger riots through his song.
This account was shared by Shubham in a telephonic conversation with Swarajya this morning (13 December).
Shubham said, “Ma'am, I do not want to do Hindu-Muslim. I never do Hindu-Muslim but truth has to be said. Four out of five cops were Hindus and they let me go. But one of them, Zakir was his name, said that I was breaking the law and trying to trigger riots through my song.”
“That officer told me in front of other cops to wipe off the tilak from my forehead. The four others didn’t do anything, but this one cop had his way,” he adds.
The song in question is titled ‘Tera mandir banayenge Shivaay’ (it ). The channel is named Gyanvapi Mandir Channel, and shows the date of uploading of this song as 25 July. Details show the lyricist and singer of the song is Shubham Shikari.
The same night, the two friends were taken to a police station in Kota and kept in detention for the night under Section 151 of the CrPC. This section gives power to a police officer to arrest any person without orders of a magistrate if the officer is in “knowing of a design to commit any cognizance offence”.
Shubham says that when his parents went to get him out on bail the next day, they were turned away, and the duo was kept in jail for another day. On the third day, they were produced before the magistrate, but the police asked the court to extend their custody by one more day.
“The magistrate was a lady. She heard the entire song in the court and asked the police what part of it they found offensive, because she did not. The policemen narrated some story to her about our misconduct and she granted their request,” Shubham says.
The duo learnt in jail that they had been booked under IPC sections 425 (mischief), 505 (committing offence in an assembly engaged in the performance of religious worship or religious ceremonies), and 295A (deliberately hurting sentiments) and Sections 4, 5 and 6 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984.
Shubham shared the FIR with this correspondent, which shows the number as 314/2022, filed on 17 July at Anantpur Police Station of Kota.
On the fourth day, the duo returned home after getting bail.
Shubham says his life has turned upside down since then. “The police seized my mobile phone and have not returned it yet. It has a lot of data I need. I am talking to you using my mother’s phone,” he says.
“I also lost my employment. I do not blame my employer, but people like to stay out of trouble and I understand it.”
Shubham’s case never made it prominently to local media and was all but buried until a day ago when a Kota-based journalist, Sujeet Swami, a video of Shubham. Swami has a verified Twitter account with about 4,700 followers.
Swami’s tweet posted on 11 December accompanying Shubham’s video says (translated), “@KotaPolice, is there a provision to keep a man in jail for three days for putting up posters and making a song? What is so provocative in the video, we want to know.”
Shubham in his video statement is seen requesting Kota Police to return his mobile phone.
Shubham told this correspondent that before the Gyanvapi song, he had released only one song. “I made that song praising Swami Ramdev’s initiative of Swadeshi products through Patanjali. I met Baba Ramdev too,” he says.
Shubham belongs to the Rajput caste while his friend Ankit belongs to a Scheduled Caste. The word ‘Shikari’ is not his caste surname but an adopted name for his role as a singer.
Shubham says that since the incident, he has contacted many caste and religious organisations for help, but he has not got any help.
He recalls a bad experience with an organisation named ‘Ram Sena’ in Chhattisgarh. “They called me to Chhattisgarh saying they would help me. They kept me at a hostel for 15 days, where the only food available to eat was Maggi. They did nothing, but when I was leaving, they said I should praise them in public,” says Shubham.
He adds that the experience left a bad taste in his mouth and he has since become sceptic of organisations extending help.
Shubham is the elder of two sons of his parents. He says he is inclined towards Hindu issues and wants to devote his life to the cause. “My dedication is such that I let my younger brother get married before me. I don’t know when or if I will get married. I want to do a lot for my society,” he says.
He wrote the song soon after claims emerged that a Shivling was found inside the well of Gyanvapi mosque. An advocate from the Hindu side in the case said that the Shivling is facing a murti of Nandi.
“I was enraged. My blood was boiling after this news came out. That’s when I wrote the song and decided to record it,” he says. “I did it despite being diagnosed with tuberculosis.”
After the police case, Shubham has been without employment and support. He has attended six hearings in his case so far.
“In every hearing, the judge comes and gives a new date. Nobody even looks at my face, but I need to be present for every hearing,” he says. The Kota district court is about five kilometres from his house.
Shubham says he feels particularly bad for his friend Ankit who only accompanied him.
When asked by this correspondent what kind of help he expected from people who would want to support him after reading this report, Shubham went silent. “Please get me my phone,” he said, and added, “I have not earned anything for the past six months.”
As you are no doubt aware, Swarajya is a media product that is directly dependent on support from its readers in the form of subscriptions. We do not have the muscle and backing of a large media conglomerate nor are we playing for the large advertisement sweep-stake.
Our business model is you and your subscription. And in challenging times like these, we need your support now more than ever.
We deliver over 10 - 15 high quality articles with expert insights and views. From 7AM in the morning to 10PM late night we operate to ensure you, the reader, get to see what is just right.
Becoming a Patron or a subscriber for as little as Rs 1200/year is the best way you can support our efforts.