Amad Khan, a folk musician in Rajasthan, India, who sang religious songs, was allegedly killed in Dantal village after a performance on 27 September 2017, according to police, reported Hindustan Times. A village faith healer, Ramesh Suthar, hired Khan to perform a raga that would lead a goddess spirit to enter his body, but told police that Khan’s poor singing was the reason for the spirit leaving him.
Police said Suthar broke the musician’s instruments and assaulted him for the performance. Later that evening, according to Khan’s family, the healer and two others allegedly kidnapped the musician and the next day Khan was discovered dead.
Freemuse is deeply saddened to learn of the musician’s death and calls on authorities to lead a thorough investigation and punish those responsible.
“The killing of an artist for their art, regardless of their religion or craft, is unacceptable. Indian authorities, especially those of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, have a responsibility to protect its people, of all races, religions and professions, including artists and their families, from persecution and violence,” Freemuse Executive Director Dr Srirak Plipat said.
Suthar has been arrested on suspicion of murder in the investigation into Khan’s death, while the two others have fled, reported The Indian Express.
The musician’s family quietly buried Khan after dominant Hindu elders in the community allegedly threatened the family if they alerted police. A few days later, however, the family reported the death, which then caused the evacuation of more than a dozen Muslim families (approx. 200 people) – including Khan’s family – from Dantal who claim they were forced to leave after the upper caste Hindus threatened to kill those who would not leave in retaliation for contacting police, reported Hindustan Times.
Khan was a Langa Manganyar, a Muslim group of people known for their folk music that is passed on from generation to generation as an oral history of where they live. They are also known for their folk songs in praise of Hindu gods. Suthar had hired Khan to perform during Navratri, a 10-day Hindu festival, something the musician had done in the same village temple for years, reported IBTimes.