Punjabi singer Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, known as Sidhu Moosewala, was shot dead on Sunday at Jahawarke village in Mansa district of Punjab, a day after his security cover among several others was withdrawn by the State police. The police said the incident looked to be a result of an inter-gang rivalry.
The Opposition parties launched a major offensive against the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government blaming it for the complete breakdown of law and order in the State.
Director-General of Police V.K. Bhawra said the incident apparently looked to be a result of an inter-gang rivalry. “The incident occurred around 5.30 p.m. on Sunday. Mr. Moosewala was driving his vehicle and two private persons were accompanying him. Two vehicles from the front and one at the back blocked Mr. Moosewala’s vehicle and started firing in which he sustained bullet injuries. He was declared brought dead at the local hospital. We have recovered around 30 empty cases, which show at least three different weapons were used to fire,” said Mr. Bhawra.
SIT to probe
“The Lawrence Bishnoi gang has claimed the responsibility of the killing through a Canada-based operative. The investigation is under way. Mr. Moosewala had four commandos of the Punjab police for security, but in the wake of “ghallughara” and Operation Bluestar anniversary as every year, the security was thinned. Currently, he had two commandos. However, today [on Sunday] before leaving his house, Mr. Moosewala asked the two commandos to stay at home. Also, the singer has private bulletproof car but he did not take it. We are setting up a Special Investigation Team [SIT] to probe the case,” the DGP said.
The Punjab police had withdrawn or reduced security of 424 people, including current and former legislators, religious sects heads, and police officers, inviting sharp criticism from the Opposition parties. Mr. Moosewala was among several of those, whose security was reduced a day ago.
Mr. Moosewala, who had been surrounded in controversies for allegedly promoting ‘gun culture’ and violence in his songs, had contested the 2022 Assembly election as the Congress candidate from Mansa. He had been booked in multiple cases by the Punjab police for glorifying gun culture under different Sections of the Indian Penal Code and under the Arms Act.
Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said, “I am shocked and deeply saddened by the gruesome murder of Sidhu Moosewala. Nobody involved will be spared. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his fans across the world. I appeal everyone to stay calm.”
AAP supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the murder of Mr. Moosewala was very sad and shocking and said he had spoken to Mr. Mann on the incident. He said the culprits would be given the harshest punishment.
Shocked, says Rahul
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said, “Deeply shocked and saddened by the murder of promising Congress leader and talented artist, Sidhu Moosewala. My heartfelt condolences to his loved ones and fans from across the world.”
Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal said, “This is an extremely critical hour, requiring all of us to exercise restraint and statesmanship. On his part, the Chief Minister must reflect deeply why Punjab under him has drifted into anarchy with total breakdown of law and order. The CM also must honestly think if the cheaply populist decision to withdraw Mr. Moosewala’s security is directly responsible for the tragedy.”
“After all, he faced tangible threat to life. This is no time for political point scoring but someone must take responsibility for the situation,”he added
Former Chief Minister Captain (retired) Amarinder Singh blamed the continuously deteriorating law and order situation in Punjab for the murder of the young singer. “The AAP government has been a complete failure on the law and order front and I have been saying it since the beginning.” He criticised the State government’s decision to withdraw Mr. Moosewala’s security without assessing his threat perception. “Responsibility must be fixed as to why his security was withdrawn," he added.