Bhojpuri folk singer Neha Singh Rathore, who has been served notice by the Uttar Pradesh Police for a satirical song that taunted the Yogi Adityanath government, has said she will not be browbeaten.
"I am just a folk singer, nothing in front of these big leaders. This is intolerance. The idea is to scare away every voice of dissent or criticism. Every voice that can cut their votes," Ms Rathore told NDTV.
"I stand by the song and I will keep on singing. They had trolled me so much last time. Why should I stop now... I am not afraid, and I will not be intimidated at all. I will speak to my lawyers," she said.
Ms Rathore also alleged that police department tried to entrap her husband before serving the notice. "Just before I got the notice, a woman called him up and asked him to meet for 'guidance' about her civil services examination," she said.
"The police showed remarkable alacrity in tracking me down and serving me the notice. Had they shown such initiative in other matters, the state would have been better off," Ms Rathore said.
Ms Rathore had recently uploaded a variation of her viral song 'UP Mein Ka Ba' in which she spoke of Pramila Dixit, 45, and her daughter Neha, 20, who died in their hut that was set on fire, allegedly by policemen, during an eviction drive in the state's Kanpur last week.
The song prompted the Uttar Pradesh Police to show up at her door on Tuesday night, alleging that it has "created a situation of disharmony and tension" in society. Ms Rathore has been given three days to respond to a litany of questions about the song and how it was produced.
The police have asked her to confirm that it was her who is seen in the video, if she wrote the lyrics and whether she stood by them. The police also asked whether she was "aware of the adverse impact of the video on society".
"This song has created enmity and tension in society, and you are legally bound to make your stand clear on the issue. So, you are required to file your reply within three days of receiving the notice," the UP Police's notice read.
"If your reply is not found satisfactory, a case will be registered... and proper legal investigation will be carried out," it added.
While Ms Rathore is best known to a wider audience for her viral song 'UP Mein Ka Ba' that needled the Adityanath government ahead of last year's elections, she has an extensive body of work that includes satirical pieces taking on other politicians like Bihar's Nitish Kumar and Lalu Yadav.
Among those who condemned the police action against the singer were former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav and Delhi's Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.
"When the popular singer @nehafolksinger asked fearless questions, the BJP government sent a notice to her house through the hands of the police... Is BJP so scared of the voice of a folk singer? Embarrassing. This is very shameful," Mr Sisodia wrote.
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