In less than 24 hours after his security was curtailed by the government, singer-turned-actor-politician Sidhu Moosewala, with a huge fan base running into millions, was shot dead by gangsters close to his ancestral village in Mansa in Punjab in broad daylight on Sunday, police said. He was 29 years old.
He was on the wheel in Mahindra Thar SUV when the assailants, believed to be 10-12, fired more than 20 rounds at point-blank range at the singer and his two friends, who got grievous injuries. Moosewala got seven-eight bullets.
It is learnt that AK-47 assault rifle was used in the crime as its shells were recovered from the crime scene.
Moosewala was taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared dead. The civil surgeon at Mansa hospital said Moosewala was brought dead, while the two others were referred to another hospital for treatment.
The incident happened a day after Punjab Police ordered the withdrawal of security of more than 420 people, including former legislators, Jathedars of two Takhts, heads of deras and police officers.
Two of his four gunmen were withdrawn with the new government order. Moosewala was without security when the crime happened.
Also he was travelling in a vehicle that was not bullet proof. Normally, he used his bullet-proof Toyota Fortuner for commuting, police said.
Leaving behind his celebrated tag of a top Punjabi rap singer with fans across the globe, Moosewala, belonging to native Moosa village, made his electoral debut as a Congress candidate from Mansa for the February 20 Assembly polls.
Moosewala, who was often caught on the wrong side of the law but broke several records, did not mind in singing couplets of his songs and posing for countless selfies with the electorate, largely first-timers, during his campaigning.
Many of his songs featured in the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 charts.
With assets of Rs 7.87 crore as per his nomination affidavit, the singer-turned-politician, who loved to ride on an open jeep, was facing four criminal cases, including two for obscene scenes.
Controversies were not new to Moosewala. He created stir by allegedly misusing the name of 18th century Sikh warrior Mai Bhago in his track 'Jatti Jeonay Morh Di Bandook Wargi' with panthic bodies demanding his arrest for hurting Sikh sentiments. He later apologised.
Moosewala, who was facing charges of promoting violence and gun culture in his song 'Sanju', had joined the Congress on December 3, 2021.
Moosewala, who created a niche for himself with his unique rapping style, was known for hit tracks like 'Legend', 'Devil', 'Just listen', 'Jatt da Muqabala' and 'Hathyar', among many others.
He played the protagonist in Punjabi film 'Moosa Jatt'. His another film 'Yes I Am A Student' was a story that sheds light on the hardship of international students but inspires them to never lose hope.
"I am not entering politics for status or to earn praise. I want to become a part of the system to transform it. I am joining the Congress to raise the voice of the people. I am joining the Congress as the party has leaders who have come from common families," Moosewala, who went to Canada in 2016 as an international student, had said on the day he joined politics.
Responding to the crime, former Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the brutal murder of Moosewala was shocking.
"My profound condolences to the bereaved family. Law and order has completely collapsed in Punjab. Criminals have no fear of law. @AAPPunjab government has miserably failed. Nobody is safe in Punjab!"
BJP's Manjinder Singh Sirsa slammed AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal over the decision to withdraw security cover of the Punjabi singer.