India-Canada tensions: Punjabi hip-hop stars hit by row over Sikh separatism - BBC News
Punjabi musicians fear they will be caught in the middle of rising tensions between India and Canada.
2 days agoShareclose panelShare pageCopy linkAbout sharingImage source, InstagramImage caption, Rapper Shubh's India tour was cancelled recentlyBy Zoya MateenBBC News, DelhiLast month, popular Punjabi rapper Shubhneet Singh's forthcoming India tour was cancelled after tensions erupted between India and Canada.
The reason was a controversy that broke out over an old social media post where he had shared an incorrect map of India. The Canada-based singer (known to fans as Shubh) was accused of supporting the demand for Khalistan, or a separate Sikh homeland - a sensitive topic in India, which saw a violent insurgency over the movement in the 1980s.
Canada has the largest population of Sikhs outside India's Punjab state, and is home to popular Punjabi diaspora musicians who divide their time between the two countries - touring, producing or simply visiting India, where they have a massive fanbase.
So the diplomatic row - sparked by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying his country was investigating "credible allegations" that could link the Indian government to the murder of a Sikh separatist leader - has worried musicians who call both countries home. (India has denied the allegations and stopped issuing visas to Canadian citizens.)
Shubh, for instance, asked people to "refrain from naming every Punjabi as a separatist or anti-national", but he still faces criticism and some Indian cricketers - including former captain Virat Kohli, who once called Shubh his "favourite artiste" - have unfollowed him on social media. Another Indo-Canadian rapper AP Dhillon, who has millions of fans, also faced boycott calls on social media after he posted about musicians having to "second and triple guess our every move" after Shubh's concert was cancelled.