Varun Bahar, a Bhojpuri and Hindi singer from Gonda in UP, who was in the news recently for his controversial song with the line, ‘Jo na bole Jai Shri Ram, unko bhej do kabristan’ (‘Whoever does not chant Jai Shri Ram send them to the graveyard’) has been arrested by the UP police, sources told The Quint.
“He was sleeping on his home’s terrace in UP’s Manakpur village when police came and picked him up at 3:00 am on 26 July,” Varun Bahar’s associate, MRK Sandeep, told The Quint.
Lucknow crime branch police officials from the social media monitoring cell arrested Bahar as well as the producer of the music label, Rajesh Kumar Verma, and song writers Santosh Yadav and Mukesh Pandey under Sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language) and 298 (deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) of the IPC.
Sandeep, said a dark blue car came to pick Bahar up.
“The car did not have a number plate. We do not know where he is either. I went to Hazratganj police station and the SHO told me he does not know anything about the case,” he said.
The song, which was released on 21 July, drew widespread criticism, but Bahar was adamant he had done “nothing wrong”.
"I have offended no religion. I did not name any religion, Christians or Muslims. If I love my religion, what is wrong with that?" he said.
Bahar said he was being threatened by people in India and abroad, and called upon the Hindu Yuva Vahini, Bajrang Dal and his “Hindu brothers” to help him.
Santosh Yadav, the songwriter, said, "Ram virodhi tatva hum logo ke peeche hadh dhoke pade hue hai. Par dharm ke liye humein faasi bhi laga de toh hum kuch nahi bolenge (Elements who are against Lord Ram are after us. However, for my religion, even if they hang me to death, I won’t mind.)"
Congress party member Tehseen Poonawala is among the people who has complained against the song.
Many others came to social media to express their discontent with the song.