Moose Wala, 28, died in a fatal shooting when he was out in his jeep with two other men near his native village of Jawaharke in Mansa district on Sunday evening. Eight of around 30 bullets fired by the gunmen hit the Punjabi rapper, whose real name was Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, and who had released his latest track, “The Last Ride”, earlier this month.
On his “last ride”, Moose Wala was not accompanied by his two armed police guards — he had four before his security was halved on Saturday in the AAP government’s move to redirect the forces elsewhere and to end what it called “a VIP culture”. Having police guards is often considered prestigious in the country, a perception that sometimes outweighs real threats certain individuals face.
Sidhu moose Wala received death threats from Lawrence Bishnoi gangster group, says father
The AAP government came under fire for a poster shared on the party’s Twitter handle that mentioned Moose Wala and Akal Takht jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh while announcing the security downgrade with the caption, “Another attack on VVIP culture in Punjab”. According to critics and rival parties, the move had made those individuals vulnerable to attack.
The Punjab government said it will ask for a judicial commission led by an HC judge to investigate the murder, as CM Bhagwant Mann acceded to a demand from Balkar Singh Sidhu, the singer’s father. Mann also directed state DGP V K Bhawra to clarify his remarks that the shooting was the fallout of an inter-gang rivalry.
The family demanded an apology from the police chief, though the primary suspects are members of jailed gangster Lawrence Bishnoi’s gang, which earlier claimed on social media to have killed the rapper. Bhawra said he didn’t associate Moose Wala with any gang.
Sidhu Moose Wala’s murder: HC seeks Punjab govt’s reply on June 02 on security curtailment order
Balkaur Singh also demanded fixing responsibility for leaking information about his son’s curtailed security. “My son was killed because of your government’s shortcomings,” he said. In response, CM Mann said he was saddened by the acclaimed singer’s untimely death, and promised his government’s full cooperation to any inquiry commission or central agency like the NIA if it took up the case.
DGP Bhawra clarified that security was “thinned out” every year because of the Operation Bluestar anniversary, known as “Ghallughara week”, in June. But AAP has been accused of making a case of it as a crackdown on “VIP culture”. It faced a backlash as the Akal Takht jathedar refused to accept the truncated protection and didn’t yield even when his full security cover was restored.
In the HC, Justice Raj Mohan Singh asked the Mann government to explain why security of several “protectees” were withdrawn and how their names became public. The court was hearing a petition by former deputy CM Om Prakash Soni of Congress, seeking reinstatement of his security cover. An MLA from 1992 till now, he said AAP removed police protection of 184 former ministers and MLAs since it took office this March.
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A similar petition was also filed by former SAD MLA Veer Singh Lopoke. Moose Wala too had run for office in the Punjab assembly polls this February as a Congress candidate, coming in the second position with about 36,000 votes.