YouTube has removed a viral music video in India posted posthumously by murdered Sikh rapper Sidhu Moose Wala following a government complaint.
The song ‘SYL’ is about the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal which has been at the center of a long running dispute over water between the late Sikh rapper’s home state of Punjab and Haryana neighbour.
The track, released posthumously on Thursday, also tackles other sensitive topics such as the deadly riots targeting the Sikh community that broke out in India in 1984 and the storming of a major Sikh temple in Amritsar by the army. same year.
It had garnered nearly 30 million views and 3.3 million likes on the singer’s YouTube page before being taken down over the weekend.
“This content is unavailable on this country’s domain due to a legal complaint from the government,” said a post on the song’s link.
The song is still available in other countries.
In an email to AFP, a YouTube spokesperson said it only removed the song “in accordance with local laws and our terms of service after careful review.”
The government did not immediately respond to inquiries.
Moose Wala’s family called the song’s removal “unfair” and called on the government to drop the complaint, local media reported.
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“They can ban the song but they can’t take Sidhu out of people’s hearts. We will discuss legal options with lawyers,” Uncle Chamkaur Singh said as quoted by the daily Hindustan Times.
Moose Wala – also known by his birth name Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu – was shot dead in his car in the northern state of Punjab last month.
The 28-year-old was a popular musician in India and among Punjabi communities abroad, particularly in Canada and Britain.
His death sparked anger and outrage from fans around the world.
Indian police last week arrested three men accused of killing Moose Wala and seized a cache of weapons, including a grenade launcher.
The men are said to have acted at the behest of Canadian-based mobster Goldy Brar and his accomplice Lawrence Bishnoi who is currently in prison in India.
Moose Wala rose to fame with catchy songs that attacked rival rappers and politicians, portraying himself as a man who fought for his community’s pride, delivered justice and brought down enemies.
He was criticized for promoting gun culture through his music videos, in which he regularly posed with guns.
His murder also brought organized crime to light in Punjab, a major transit route for drugs entering India from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Many observers link the drug trade – primarily heroin and opium – to an increase in gang-related violence and the use of illegal weapons in the state.