A day before the alleged gang rivalry attack, the 28-year-old rapper’s security cover was removed in a bid to crack down on VIP culture.
Indian police are investigating the murder of a popular Punjabi rapper, who mixed hip-hop, rap and folk music, a day after he was shot, authorities say.
Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, also known around the world by his stage name Sidhu Moose Wala, was killed Sunday night while driving his car in Mansa, a district in India’s northwestern state of Punjab.
Moose Wala, 28, was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Punjab’s top police officer, VK Bhawra, said the initial investigation revealed the killing was a gang rivalry.
A day before the attack, the Punjab government had removed security cover from more than 400 people, including Moose Wala, in a bid to crack down on VIP culture, local media reported.
There is a reason that the security provided to individuals should be based on objective threat assessment and not on personal likes and dislikes. These days, security seems to be a reward for loyalty rather than an objective decision based on need. #moosewala
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) May 29, 2022
Moose Wala started out as a songwriter before a hit song in 2017 catapulted his singing career, making him well known among the Indian and Punjabi diaspora in countries like the UK and Canada.
Most of their singles have an English title, although the songs were mostly sung in Punjabi. Her brilliant music videos were famous for their rap lyrics and often focused on macho culture. Her debut album in 2018 made it to Canada’s Billboard Albums chart.
Moose Wala was also a controversial figure, in part due to his lyrical style. In 2020, the police charged him under the Gun Law for allegedly promoting gun culture in one of his songs.
His latest song, The Last Ride, was released earlier this month.
The rapper joined India’s main opposition Congress party last year and ran unsuccessfully in the state assembly elections.
Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann said “no guilty will be spared” and that he was deeply shocked and saddened by the killing.
Rahul Gandhi, a senior congressional leader, took to Twitter to offer his condolences to Moose Wala’s family. “Deeply shocked and saddened by the assassination of a promising congressional leader and talented artist,” he said.