Days after the Punjab government reduced his security cover, along with that of many others, Congress leader and popular Punjabi singer Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu Moosewala was shot dead near Mansa on Sunday.
Police said Moosewala, 28, was shot at while he was driving his SUV in village Jhawahar Ke in Mansa district with two others, and was declared brought dead at the Mansa Civil Hospital.
Punjab Director General of Police Viresh Kumar Bhawra said, “Moosewala left his house in Moosa village at 4.30 pm. Around 5.30 pm, he was driving his jeep, accompanied by two persons, when two vehicles that had been following him intercepted his vehicle and fired at him.”
On May 26, as part of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s security pruning exercise, Moosewala’s security cover had been halved from four to two, ostensibly to augment police force for ghallughara diwas (marked to protest Operation Bluestar).
The Punjab Police had ordered the withdrawal or pruning of security for 424 persons, including MLAs, religious leaders, dera heads and retired police officers. Among the religious leaders whose security cover was reduced or withdrawn include officiating Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh, the Radha Soami Satsang Beas chief, Takht Kesgarh Sahib Jathedar Giani Raghbir Singh, and Dera Sachkhand Ballan chief Sant Niranjan Dass among others.
Mansa Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Toora said that on Sunday, Moosewala did not take “the two commandos who were part of his security detail nor his private guards, telling them that he was going for a round”.
DGP Bhawra said the killing “appears to be the result of inter-gang rivalry as Moosewala’s manager Shagunpreet Singh name had surfaced in the Vicky Middukhera murder case.”
In August last year, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Vicky Middukhera was shot dead in a market in Mohali’s Sector 71. Police arrested three shooters, one of whom named Moosewala’s manager Shaganpreet. Shaganpreet has since been absconding.
DGP Bhawra said police are investigating the alleged role of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang in the killing. On Sunday, hours after Moosewala was killed, Canada-based Goldy Brar, allegedly a member of the Bishnoi gang, put out a Facebook post owning responsibility for the killing and alleging police didn’t act against the singer over Middukhera’s murder.
The DGP said that on the directions of Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Inspector General (Bathinda Range) has been asked to constitute a special investigation team to probe the incident.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann appealed for calm and said no culprit would be spared. “I am deeply saddened and shocked by the horrific murder of Sidhu Moose Wala..No culprit will be spared..My heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with his family and his fans all over the world..Appeal to all to remain calm,” he tweeted.
Reacting to Moosewala’s killing, Chief Minister Mann tweeted, “I am deeply saddened and shocked by the horrific murder of Sidhu Moosewala… No culprit will be spared… My heartfelt sympathies and prayers are with his family and his fans all over the world… I appeal to all to remain calm.”
Moosewala, who belonged to Moosa village near Mansa, was the voice of many superhit songs over the last few years. Earlier this year, he had contested the Assembly polls on a Congress ticket from Mansa, losing to AAP’s Dr Vijay Singla — the minister who was sacked by the AAP government and arrested earlier this week over alleged corruption charges — by a margin of 63,323 votes.
Moosewala had joined the Congress with much fanfare in November last year. With the party granting him a ticket from Mansa Assembly constituency, the Congress sitting MLA from the seat, Nazar Singh Manshahia, had revolted, saying he would oppose the candidature of the singer.