Shubhneet Singh, a Punjabi singer and rapper based in Canada who goes by the stage name Shubh, is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The singer, who came to stardom with hits like Elevated, OG, and Cheques, has come under criticism for allegedly supporting Khalistan, an issue that has strained relations between India and Canada in recent weeks. Shubh has had several of his famous fans unfollow him on Instagram in recent weeks as a result of his social media activities. Shubh has a big fan base all across the world.
Shubh, who is from Punjab but now lives in Canada, debuted in September 2021 with his breakout debut single We Rollin. His combination of catchy hip-hop and trap beats and fast lyrical flow quickly won him tremendous fame, and he shouted out hit singles ‘No Love’ and ‘Baller.’ He has over a million Instagram followers and recently released his second album, Still Rollin, which included the viral single Cheques.
On September 19, the electronics company boAt cancelled its sponsorship of Shubh’s planned India tour. The decision by the firm to drop its sponsorship comes at a time when India and Canada are locked in a diplomatic spat over the death of Khalistan terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, as well as Shubh’s other provocative posts.
In a statement shared on X, the company said, “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 of the tour.”
What is the controversy around Shubh?
In March, the Canadian-Punjabi artist sparked outrage by posting a distorted map of India on his Instagram account, excluding the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, and the Northeastern states.
“Pray for Punjab,” he captioned the photo. The artist received a lot of backlash on social media for the post. Later, the singer deleted the map and replaced it with a statement that said “Pray for Punjab” but didn’t include a photo.
Shubh’s tweet coincided with a police crackdown on Amritpal Singh, the self-proclaimed Sikh preacher and leader of the ‘Waris Punjab De’, and his associates. He shared the photos after the Punjab government shut down mobile internet connectivity throughout the state.
Shubh was set to perform in Mumbai, India, from September 23 to September 25. He was also supposed to perform in New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Hyderabad. The singer’s India tour was cancelled on September 20, according to the ticketing app BookMyShow.
In response to the singer’s scheduled concert, the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM), the BJP’s youth wing, pulled posters advertising the event, indicating that the singer will not be allowed to perform since he is a Khalistani supporter. For the past two days, the group has been protesting in Mumbai, demanding that Shubh’s India concert be cancelled.
“There is no space for Khalistanis who are the enemy of integrity and unity of India. We won’t let Canadian singer Shubh perform on the auspicious land of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Mumbai…If no proper action is taken then the organisers will have to face revolt,” BJYM President Tajinder Singh Tiwana told news agency ANI.
BJYM has also written to the Mumbai police to register an FIR against Shubh “for waging war against the Government of India and posting anti-government posts.”
According to the memorandum presented by BJYM to the Mumbai police, the singer’s purpose was to demonstrate that Punjab is not a part of India and to promote the Khalistani agenda.
“Shubh is openly a Khalistani supporter 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 posts about the Government of India,” the complaint read.
Shubh’s celebrity followers, including Virat Kohli, KL Rahul, and Hardik Pandya, have all unfollowed the artist on Instagram after the incident erupted.
Controversy around Hardeep Singh Nijjar’s death
The issue surrounding singer Shubh comes at a time when India and Canada are at odds over the killing of Khalistani terrorist Hardeep Singh Nijjar. Relations between the two countries were already strained, and the killing has brought them to a new low.
Hardeep Singh Nijjar was assassinated on June 18 in Surrey, British Columbia, outside a Sikh cultural facility. Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, noted “credible allegations of a potential link” between Indian government officials and the death of the Khalistani terrorist.
In the Nijjar issue, Trudeau’s government has been actively engaging and coordinating with Canada’s diplomatic allies, resulting in the expulsion of the Indian diplomat.
Meanwhile, India dismissed the Trudeau government’s claim as “absurd” and “motivated.” As a result, India dismissed a senior Canadian diplomat and gave him five days to leave the country.