Punjab singer-politician Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, aka Sidhu Moose Wala, was shot dead on Sunday evening, a day after his security was scaled down – a move that has brought the Bhagwant Singh Mann government under huge criticism from the opposition. The murder of the 28-year-old Congress leader – blamed on inter-gang rivalry – has shocked the state, triggering a fresh political row. Canada-based Goldy Brar and jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi have been named by the state police in the killing. Moosewala-who had very recently joined the Congress-had drawn criticism for promoting gun culture in his songs by him.
Here are ten important updates on the murder of Sidhu Moose Wala:
1. The young rapper has been murdered just months after he joined the Congress ahead of the state elections. He had unsuccessfully contested the assembly elections from the Mansa district, and lost to AAP’s Dr Vijay Singla. Last week, chief minister Bhagwant Mann had dropped Dr Singla from his cabinet over allegations of corruption.
2. The state government had scaled down his security from four armed guards to two. The move was taken by 424 people amid Mann’s tirade against the “VIP culture”. In the midst of raging criticism, the chief minister on Sunday night urged for calm: “I am Shocked and Deeply saddened by the gross murder of Siddhu Moosewala. Nobody involved will be spared. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his fans across the world. I appeal to everyone to stay calm. (sic)” I tweeted.
3. Congress’s Priyanka Gandhi Vadra attacked the AAP government after the murder as she wrote on Twitter: “Sidhu Moosewala ji was a talented artist who brought laurels to the country and Punjab all over the world. The Aam Aadmi Party government has turned Punjab’s law and order into Jungle Raj and has handed over the security system to political likes and dislikes.”
4. On Sunday evening, soon after leaving his home, Moose Wala was driving his SUV when two cars came from the front and chaos unfolded. A CCTV video has emerged that shows the two cars trailing his black SUV of him.
5. A huge police force remains deployed outside the Mansa district home of the singer, killed just weeks before he was to turn 29.
6. “It seems to be an inter-gang rivalry case…Lawrence Bishnoi gang is involved in this. Lucky, member of the gang has taken responsibility from Canada,” Punjab DGP VK Bhawra said on Sunday evening at a press briefing.
7. Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh Warring visited the home of his party colleague after the death and lambasted the police. “Punjab DGP should be ashamed as it is his responsibility to control law and order but he is running away from his responsibility to him by calling it a gang rivalry. We will go to the high court, and will meet the governor. If we don’t get justice then we’ll also meet Union Home Minister (Amit Shah),” he was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
8. “Why his (Sidhu Moose Wala) reduced security? In two months, 40-45 people lost their lives including a Kabaddi player,” he added.
9. Among others who have slammed the AAP over the killing are the BJP and the Akali Dal. “Moose Wala’s death is the result of cheap politics of AAP. Cheap politics of Arvind Kejriwal, who made public the secret list which had names of those whose security had been removed. Kejriwal used to demand that he should be given control of the police; now see what he is doing with it…,” Manjinder Singh Sirsa, who broke down at a presser, said on the murder.
10. AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal also urged for calm. The killing comes just months after the party claimed a landslide win in the state. “The murder of Sidhu Moose Wala is very sad and shocking. I just spoke to Punjab CM Mann Sahib. The culprits will be given the harshest punishment. I request everyone to keep calm and maintain peace. May God rest his soul from him,” Kejriwal tweeted.
(With inputs from ANI)