Three Punjab natives from a four-member Dhabi jatha (religious singers) who were on a six-month sponsored tour of gurdwaras in Canada have gone missing. The group leader suspects that the three have planned an escape by fraudulently taking refuge as refugees. Bhai Harpal Singh, 39, and Ranjit Singh Rana, 30, along with Rajesh Singh Mahaya, 36, went missing from Calgary on January 22, said Jaswinder Singh Shant, the group’s frontman and noted vocalist. Several such disappearances of Punjab band members have been reported abroad over the years.
Jaswinder Singh Shant has called it a very unfortunate incident. He said that this would bring bad name to Sikhism, Punjab and India. Shant said that before leaving India, Harpal and Ranjit were photographed with Simranjit Singh Mann, president of the Shiromani Akali Dal (Amritsar), which openly supports the Khalistan movement. However, Shant clarified that he had no knowledge of their intentions.
He said that because our visit was sponsored by the Gurudwara Committee of the city of Victoria in British Columbia, where we were to perform at the Baisakhi festival, a case was registered by the Victoria Police on the complaint of the Gurdwara Committee.