Private television networks broadcast angry scenes outside a police station in Punjab’s Patiala town as Mehndi, 36, on Monday surrendered to detectives who have charged him with 31 counts of immigration law violations.
“Daler Mehndi die, die,” screamed 1,500 former fans. Some tried to assault the turbanned Mehndi, whose Punjabi-language albums have sold millions across India and the Punjabi diaspora.
Fans armed with sticks blocked Mehndi’s Mercedes and smashed its windshield, forcing the occupants of the vehicle, which included lawyers, to run for their lives, police said.
“Not only his (Mehndi’s) life is in danger – even mine and that of another lawyer, Anand Parkash, accompanying him is threatened,” one of the pop star’s lawyers said after the brawl.
Mehndi, who drove a cab before becoming the king of Punjabi pop, could face a life sentence if convicted, police said.
“I have no faith in the police of Patiala and I want the case to be probed by the (federal) Central Bureau of Investigations,” said Mehndi, who at the weekend secured advance bail from a Delhi court against his possible arrest.
“The mob is present due to resentment against the singer“
Paramraj Singh Umranangal
Patiala police chief Paramraj Singh Umranangal said Mehndi’s life was not in danger and added that both he and his entourage would be given protection.
“There is nothing of the sort. The mob is present due to resentment against the singer and we will give full protection to Daler Mehndi, his family and counsels,” he added.
Patiala police, who have registered complaints of human trafficking against Mehndi, say the multi-millionaire rocker used his roadshow’s visit to Western cities as a cover for the racket.
Mehndi’s debut album “Ho Jayega Balle Balle” cut a new groove in contemporary Punjabi music and the title song remains a chart-buster today, two years after it was released.
His glitzy bump-and-grind video numbers fly off shelves across India as soon they are made.