Popular Canadian singer, Shubhneet Singh has been drawn into a recent backlash over his Instagram post showing support to the Khalistan movement. Shubhneet Singh, popularly known as Shubh, reportedly posted a distorted map of India, omitting Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir, alongside a message that read “Pray for Punjab”.
Triggered by the controversy, a social media trend, ‘Uninstall BookMyShow,’ emerged, with netizens urging the ticket booking platform to stop selling tickets for Shubh’s concerts in India. This comes right before Shubh's ‘Still Rollin India Tour’ where the singer is set to perform in 12 major cities, including Mumbai, Hyderabad, and New Delhi. The Mumbai show is scheduled from September 23-25.
All this comes at the heels of the ongoing turmoil between India and Canada, following Canada's "serious allegations" about potential involvement of Indian government agents in the murder of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in British Columbia in June. Nijjar was a Punjabi separatist leader who advocated for an independent Khalistani state.
How did the controversy begin?
Following his post, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party, accused Shubh of supporting the Khalistan movement. The party demanded a cancellation of Shubh’s India concert.
According to a report by the Hindustan Times, BJYM President Tajinder Singh Tiwana said, “There is no space for Khalistanis who are the enemy of the integrity and unity of India. We won’t allow Canadian singer Shubh to perform in the auspicious land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mumbai. If no proper action is taken, then the organizers will have to face our opposition.”
In a viral video, the party members can be seen tearing Shubh's concert poster, urging Mumbai police to take strict action against the singer by cancelling of all his performances.
Furthermore, Shubh’s social media post coincided with the Punjab Police’s search for Amritpal Singh, leading to the arrest of some of Shubh’s followers, as reported by the Hindustan Times. Singh is a controversial self-styled preacher and a declared fugitive.
On Tuesday, illustrator and graphic artist Amandeep Singh, known by the pseudonym ‘Inkquisitive’, the creator of the alleged ‘distorted map’, said on X that Shubh had shared his artwork. He clarified that the image was nowhere related to Khalistan, rather it was "a visual expression on a police man taking the plug out of Punjab due to the ‘blackout in Punjab’.”
BookMyShow: Caught in the Crossfire
Many Twitter users expressed their displeasure, urging BookMyShow to "stand up for India", bringing the ticketing platform's ethics into question in light of the incident.
BOOM found that this was the earliest tweet to have used the hashtag #UnInstallBookMyShow. Another tweet to have gotten the maximum traction on this issue was this one, as the user has a verified account.
Sharing a screenshot of Shubh's post, the verified user wrote, "If you’re going to sell a KhaIistani supporter’s tickets on your app @bookmyshow then you don’t deserve our business."
In response to the public outcry, ticketing platform BookMyShow, has cancelled Shubh's show and has initiated the refund process for all the customers who had purchased the show tickets. Taking to X, the platform said, "Singer Shubhneet Singh's Still RollinTour for India stands cancelled. The refund will be reflected in 7-10 days in the customer's source account of the original transaction."
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
Before this, the Indian electronic brand, boAt had already withdrawn its sponsorship from the show and shared a post regarding the same. Their statement read, "When we became aware of the remarks made by artist Shubh earlier this year, we chose to withdraw our sponsorship from the tour. We will continue to foster a vibrant music culture in India."
What do we know about Shubh?
Originally from Punjab and currently residing in Canada, Shubh made a mark in the music scene with his breakthrough debut single 'We Rollin' in September 2021. Known for his hip-hop and trap beats, he quickly garnered a significant following.
Subsequently, he had a string of hit singles including 'No Love,' 'Elevated,' and 'Baller', to his name. With a thriving Instagram following exceeding one million, Shubh has recently launched a new album titled 'Still Rollin,' featuring the viral track 'Cheques'. The singer-songwriter is yet to comment on the ongoing matter.
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