• Friday, September 22, 2023


Singapore: Indian-origin rapper jailed for ‘promoting’ ill will through racial online posts

The singer was found guilty on July 23 over the online comments comparing races and religion that he posted between July 2019 and March 2021.

Representational Image (iStock)

By: Shubham Ghosh

SUBHAS Nair, an Indian-origin Singaporean rapper, was on Tuesday (5) sentenced to a six-week jail term for attempting to promote ill will among racial and religious groups through online posts.

The singer, whose full name is Subhas Govin Prabhakar Nair, was found guilty on July 23 over the online comments comparing races and religion that he posted between July 2019 and March 2021.

District judge Shaiffudin Saruwan agreed with the prosecution that deterrence for such offences “takes on a greater significance in the age of social media and the internet” as ill-intended racist messages can be disseminated to a larger audience almost instantaneously.

Saruwan added that such messages cause harm not only to the targeted racial or religious groups but the society in general. Maintaining that he is innocent, Nair’s lawyer Suang Wijaya told the court that he intends to appeal against his conviction and sentence.

One of the four charges that Nair was convicted of related to a July 29, 2019, YouTube video wherein he and his sister, Preeti Nair, known as Preetipls, performed a song having racist lyrics. He was given a two-year conditional warning by the police over this, but he again posted comments on social media that were deemed offensive.

Commenting on a viral video by two Christians who linked the gay pride movement to Satan, he wrote, “If two Malay Muslims made a video promoting Islam and saying the kinds of hateful things these Chinese Christians said, ISD (Internal Security Department) would have been at the door before they even hit ‘upload’.”

He removed the post on Nov 2, 2020. In another incident, Nair had made an Instagram post referring to a media interview of Chan Jia Xing, who was given a conditional warning for a reduced charge of consorting with a person who had a weapon. Chan was one of seven people originally charged with murdering a man at Orchard Towers, a multi-storied office complex here.

Nair had written that “calling out racism and Chinese privilege” equalled a two-year conditional warning and a “smear campaign in the media,” while “actually conspiring to murder an Indian man” equalled half the sentence and a question of “you’re having a baby soon right? Boy or girl?”

Nair and his sister have been known to ruffle feathers through their songs and posts.

In May 2022, in an interview with Al Jazeera, Nair had said he stood up for his community and as a rapper, his role was “to speak truth to power – not just for my people, but for all of us who are living under capitalism and this authoritarian regime.”

(With PTI inputs)

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