Dead singing star’s family reject drowning verdict
The mysterious and sudden death of the teenage Sikh winner of a top-rated Indian TV talent show is still a matter of dispute by his family.
Supporters scarcely had time to celebrate the triumph of Ishmeet Singh in the Voice of India extravaganza on the Star Plus channel before they were mourning his death, apparently by drowning, in a swimming pool at a Maldives beach resort on July 29.
And then the story took another dramatic twist as his family suggested that he may have been murdered and had not died by accidental drowning.
Ishmeet Singh’s father and uncle Gurpinder Singh and Dr Charan Kamal Singh flew to the holiday islands to press for an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death.
The family pointed out that the 19-year-old singing sensation could swim. They said that injuries on his forehead and chest and swellings to the face aroused suspicion of murder.
A preliminary post-mortem revealed the injuries but concluded that he had died from drowning. The examination was carried out in the singer’s home town of Ludhiana, in the Punjab, for lack of similar medical provision in the Maldives.
Now the family has rejected a report from a four doctors at the Government Medical College in Patiala, which reiterated that the singer had died of drowning and not head injuries. Samples from his stomach and organs were examined.
The family has been calling for an Indian Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) investigation, supported by Punjab’s chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
An online petition started by a group of friends and relatives calling themselves Justice for Ishmeet Singh has raised nearly 3,000 signatures. One of its demands is for a high level inquiry, a collective effort between the Indian and Maldives governments, involving the CBI.
In the Voice of India talent contest, enthusiastic voting by Punjabi fans elevated Ishmeet Singh to show business celebrity seldom enjoyed by Sikh artists.
He subsequently travelled to the Maldives capital Male in July for a promotional event.
The Punjab government chartered a plane to bring his body home to Ludhiana via New Delhi and arranged a state funeral attended by many of his fans. The state government has revealed plans for a music academy in the singer’s memory and to commemorate his birthday, which falls on September 2.
Prominent artists and singers have been asked to help plan the academy.
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