Twenty-two-year-old Shubham, after the revelations at the controversial Gyanvapi site, calming it as a Temple decided to write a song for the same. While pasting one of the promotional posters for his song, the Rajasthan police arrested him. He was accompanied by his friend Ankit and both of them were booked under six sections of the IPC.
The song in question is titled ‘Tera Mandir Banayenege Shivay’ (it can be watched here). The channel is named Gyanvapi Mandir Channel and shows the date of uploading of this song as 25 July 2022. The song has Nine thousand five hundred views. Details show the lyricist and singer of the song is Shubham Shikari.
Shubham lives in the Kota district of Rajasthan. He was booked as the police suspected his song may hurt religious sentiments of the believers of two religions i.e. Hinduism and Islam.
A First Information Report (number—314/2022) was registered at the Anantpur police station of the Kota district on 17 July 2022. Rashtra Jyoti accessed this FIR. It was filed on the complaint of Inspector Raghuraj Singh.
The complaint says that he was patrolling around 6:50 in the evening with inspector Arif and Vishwendra when they found two boys pasting posters in the streets. The posters mentioned the name of a YouTube channel “Gyanvapi Mandir”.
It was written in the posters that Gyanvapi is a disputed structure and that Lord Nandi is waiting. The posters asked people following the Hindu religion to support the channel and share the video as much as possible.
The posters had a picture of a boy with folded hands. On identification, it was found that he was 22-year-old Shubham Shikari, from Mewda jaati, and with him was 19-year-old Ankit Mehar. Asked about the posters, Shubham told the police that he was going to release a song on Gyanvapi Mandir on 18 July.
Considering the fact that Gyanvapi is a controversial site as it involved believers of two different religions, such posters may hurt the religious sentiments of the people.
It is also written that these boys pasted these posters on the public property causing damage. From there they were taken to the police station. Both were detained under section 151 of the CrPC.
A video of Shubham Shikari went viral on the internet on 12 December 2022.
Until 12 December, his case never made it even to the local news media.
Then, a Kota-based journalist, Sujeet Swami, shared a video of Shubham through his Twitter account. Swami has a verified Twitter account with about 4,700 followers.
In this video, Shubham can be seen saying that after 51 proofs from the Gyanvapi site were collected showing it to be a temple by the Hindu side, he composed the song “Tera Mandir Banayenge Shivay” and promoted it. Anantapur police in Kota arrested him and imposed six sections of the IPC. Not only this, they also seized his mobile phone.
All the upcoming songs and videos are there on that phone and he can be seen requesting for the phone in his video.
He added that the police have not presented the chargesheet of his case in the court. The court issues adjournments for every hearing. He is unemployed for the past six months as the private firm he was working for terminated him after the case.
The Victim’s Statement to Rashtra Jyoti
This correspondent called up Shubham Shikari on 13 December. Below is an account of the conversation between Shubham and this correspondent:
He said that after writing and recording the song on Gyanvapi (“temple,” he said), he started promoting it. His song was set to be released on 18 July 2022 on YouTube as it was the first Monday of the pious Saawan month.
A night before the release of his song, he and his friend Ankit Meher were pasting posters on the walls that are already filled with similar promotional posters. Five police officers including one Muslim and the rest Hindus started questioning him. Later they took them to the police station.
Shubham said, “Ma’am, I do not want to do Hindu-Muslim. I never do Hindu-Muslim but the truth has to be said. Out of five cops one named Zakir said that I was breaking the law and trying to trigger riots through my song.”
“That officer told me in front of other cops to wipe off the tilak from my forehead. The four others didn’t do anything, but this one cop had his way,” he adds.
He said that the police kept them in jail. The next day went his parents came to get him bail, they were turned away and the duo was kept in jail for another day. They were finally presented before the magistrate on the third day. The police demanded custody for another day.
“The magistrate was a lady. She heard the entire song in the court and asked the police what part of it they found offensive, because she did not. The policemen narrated some story to her about our misconduct and she granted their request,” Shubham says.
On the fourth day, the duo returned home on bail.
Shubham says the policemen after taking his phone deleted the song which was to be released on 18 July. The song available on Youtube is a new version that he recorded after coming out on bail after three days. He shifted his date of release and posted the song on 25 July, the second Monday of the Saawan month.
He said, “I had to record and release the song again.”
He said the policemen harassed him mentally and physically when he was in the cell. They abused him and used vulgar language.
After the incident the police called up his parents and maternal uncle spreading lies about the song. The family has been living in a state of terror since the day he got arrested.
Shubham says, “My family members feared that anyone from their community can kill me. They (Muslims) are very violent when it comes to their religion. They will not hesitate in spending crores to get someone killed”.
Asked if he had received any death threats carrying the sentence ‘Sar Tan Juda’, he said, “A man named Javed who was in the same cell as me, on learning about my case said that he can get people to kill me with a knife as it is their ‘ilaka’ (region)”.
He added that many who share his videos on Whatsapp groups have asked him to delete the song from YouTube or else he will be shot dead soon.
Listen to an audio recording of this correspondent with Shubham below:
He wrote this song after claims were made that the well at Gyanvapi carries a Shiv Ling and that the Nandi located at the Vishwanath Temple is facing the Gyanvapi Mosque only because there was this Shiv Ling.
A case related to the Gyanvapi site is under trial at the Allahabad High Court.
He said that on learning the truth about the alleged mosque. he was enraged. “My blood was boiling after this news came out. That’s when I wrote the song and decided to record it,” he says. “I did it despite being diagnosed with tuberculosis.”
Asked if he had visited the Gyanvapi site, he said yes. After the revelations regarding the Shiv Ling were made, he visited the Kashi Vishwanath temple, he said. People’s entry was restricted at the Gyanvapi hence he could not visit there.
He says, “I only saw the Gyanvapi when I visited the temple. My inner voice kept on saying that this is not Gyanvapi Mosque but the Gyanvapi temple. I stood there and prayed to the Shiv Ling as it had faced a lot of torture in the past.”
He added “My song only consists of this line that it is not a Mosque but a temple. I have said, we will decorate it as a temple again. What is wrong in that?”
Shubham told this correspondent that before the Gyanvapi song, he had released only one song. “I made that song praising Swami Ramdev’s initiative of Swadeshi products through Patanjali. I met Baba Ramdev too,” he says.
Shubham belongs to the Rajput caste while his friend Ankit belongs to a Scheduled Caste. The word ‘Shikari’ is not his caste surname but an adopted name for his role as a singer.
Shubham says that since the incident, he has contacted many castes and religious organisations for help, but he has not got any help.
He recalls a bad experience with an organisation named ‘Ram Sena’ in Chhattisgarh. “They called me to Chhattisgarh saying they would help me. They kept me at a hostel for 15 days, where the only food available to eat was Maggi. They did nothing, but when I was leaving, they said I should praise them in public,” says Shubham.
He adds that the experience left a bad taste in his mouth and he has since become sceptic of organisations extending help.
Shubham is the elder of two sons of his parents. He says he is inclined toward Hindu issues and wants to devote his life to the cause. “My dedication is such that I let my younger brother get married before me. I don’t know when or if I will get married. I want to do a lot for my society,” he says.
When asked by this correspondent what kind of help he expected from people who would want to support him after reading this report, Shubham went silent. “Please get me my phone,” he said, and added, “I have not earned anything for the past six months.”
Update: The team that runs the popular Twitter account Gems of Bollywood, which also runs this portal Rashtra Jyoti, gave an amount of Rs 25,000 to Shubham as a way of monetary help after listening to his story.
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