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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Singapore’s Indian origin rapper charged for promoting ill-will on religion and race grounds

The earliest alleged incident was on July 29, 2019, when Subhas Nair published a rap video online. Chargesheets state that Nair attempted to promote feelings of ill will between the Chinese and other races.

By: PTI | Singapore |
November 1, 2021 1:37:25 pm
If convicted of attempting to promote feelings of ill will between different groups on grounds of religion or race, Nair could be jailed for up to three years and fined per charge. (Facebook/Subhas)

Indian-origin Singaporean rapper Subhas Nair was charged in court on Monday with four counts of attempting to promote feelings of ill will among different groups on grounds of religion and race.

The 28-year-old, whose full name was given as Subhas Govin Prabhakar Nair in chargesheets, is accused of making those attempts on four occasions between July 2019 and March 2021, according to a Channel News Asia report.

The earliest alleged incident was on July 29, 2019, when Nair published a rap video online. Chargesheets state that Nair attempted to promote feelings of ill will between the Chinese and other races.

Nair was given a two-year conditional warning by the police on August 14, 2019, over this incident. The warning indicated that if he reoffended, he could be prosecuted for this incident on top of any fresh offences.

The second incident was purportedly on July 25, 2020, when Nair posted comments on a social media account in response to a video of Chinese Christians who made hateful comments against another community.

Nair allegedly wrote on Instagram, “If two Malay Muslims made a video promoting Islam and saying the kind of hateful things these Chinese Christians said, ISD (Internal Security Department) would have been at the door before they even hit ‘upload’.”

The third incident was in relation to a fatal brawl at Orchard Towers in July 2019. Nair is accused of attempting to promote feelings of ill will between Chinese and Indians by claiming on October 15, 2020, that one of the accused, a Chinese man, involved in the death of an Indian man received lenient treatment by authorities because of his race.

Nair allegedly wrote on Instagram, “Calling out racism and Chinese privilege = two-year conditional warning and the smear campaign in the media. Actually, conspiring to murder an Indian man = Half the sentence and ‘You’re having a baby soon, right? Boy or girl?’ Do you actually think a brown person would get asked these types of questions? This place is just not for us”.

On March 11, 2021, while Nair was already being investigated by the police over the Orchard Towers comments, Nair allegedly attempted to promote feelings of ill will between Chinese and Indians again.

Between 8.30 pm and 9.30pm on March 11, 2021, Nair allegedly displayed a cartoon at The Substation (a drama theatre here) during a stage play entitled, Tabula Rasa – Album Exploration. The cartoon contained the same text he wrote on Instagram over the Orchard Towers incident.

Nair was charged for the earliest July 2019 offence, the rap video, as he had breached the conditions of his warning by allegedly committing the other fresh offences.

Nair appeared in court wearing a black shirt with a photo of drug offender Nagaenthran Dharmalingam, an Indian origin who is on death row, according to the Channel report.

The police prosecutor said the prosecution was ready for the case, “on condition of plea”. If Nair pleaded guilty, the prosecution would proceed with two charges and take the other two into consideration, he said.

Nair’s lawyer, Eugene Thuraisingam, asked for an adjournment to take instructions.

Nair was offered bail of SGD10,000. His next court mention will be on November 29.

If convicted of attempting to promote feelings of ill will between different groups on grounds of religion or race, Nair could be jailed for up to three years and fined per charge.

The police said in an earlier statement that they would not hesitate to take action against those who make “baseless allegations” that the law, or its enforcement agencies, accords differential treatment based on religion or race.

Such allegations have “the potential to damage religious and racial harmony in Singapore and erode public trust in our law enforcement agencies”, the Channel quoted Police as saying.

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