India: Modi’s BJP party grilled on Twitter for “using” ISPR song

India: Modi's BJP party grilled on Twitter for

A lawmaker from India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has released a song unmistakably similar to the patriotic anthem produced by the Pakistani military’s media wing for March 23, prompting reactions from Twitterati on this side of the border.

Raja Singh, a member of the Legislative Assembly in the southern Indian state of Telangana, in a tweet on Friday announced that he would release a “new song” on April 14 on the occasion of Rama Navami, a spring Hindu festival, as a tribute to the Indian army.

The tweet was accompanied by a video of the BJP lawmaker recording the song at a studio, with its tune and lyrics almost identical to that of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) song released ahead of Pakistan Day and sung by Sahir Ali Bagga. The lyrics of the Indian song, however, have been altered from ‘Pakistan Zindabad‘ to ‘Hindustan Zindabad‘.

Commenting on Singh’s video on Twitter from his personal account, Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor, the director general of ISPR, on Sunday said: “Glad that you copied. But copy to speak the truth as well.”

The “speak the truth” is in reference to Pakistan’s continued rejection of the Indian narrative that the Indian Air Force had downed a Pakistani F-16 fighter jet during a dogfight in February. Islamabad’s account of the escalation has been supported by international media reports, with US-based Foreign Policy magazine citing unnamed US defence officials to contradict the Indian claim.

Following the Foreign Policy revelation, Prime Minister Imran Khan had also rebuked the Indian leadership over its claim of shooting down an F-16.

“The truth always prevails and is always the best policy,” the premier had tweeted.

Also reacting to the video, senior journalist Hamid Mir said the BJP lawmaker’s song was “not [a] copy but theft” and termed Singh’s rendition as “unimpressive”.

Anchorperson Fe’reeha Idrees wondered why the BJP lawmaker could not come up with “something more original” despite the presence of a huge music industry in India.

Singh is not new to controversies. The BJP lawmaker was previously booked by police in several cases including for delivering hate speech and assaulting an on-duty police constable.

He has also made headlines last year for declaring that he would shoot Bangladeshis living illegally in India’s Assam state if they did not leave. He also appreciated Dalits being beaten by vigilantes in Gujarat in a publicly shared video.