On Sunday, Congress leader and popular Punjabi singer Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu Moose Wala was shot dead near Mansa, Punjab. He was driving his SUV, and was accompanied by two others when his car was shot at multiple times. This comes after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government scaled down Moose Wala’s security earlier this week, along with 424 others. Canada-based gangster Goldy Brar has claimed responsibility for Moose Wala’s murder. Amid this, several politicians from Congress, and some from the BJP and the Shiromani Akali Dal have criticised the AAP over the incident.
According to Director General of Police Viresh Kumar Bhawra, “Moose Wala 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.” The car was reportedly shot at with at least 30 rounds. “It seems to be an inter-gang rivalry case… Lawrence Bishnoi gang is involved in this. Lucky, (a) member of the gang has taken responsibility from Canada,” added DGP Bhawra on Sunday, during a press briefing.
Moose Wala and two others were taken to the Mansa Civil Hospital, where the singer-politician was declared dead on arrival. One out of his two friends, who was undergoing treatment, succumbed to his injuries this morning. On May 26, based on the AAP government’s orders, Moose Wala’s security detail was reduced from four armed guards to two. Reportedly, it was to carry forward Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann’s tirade against “VIP culture”.
As indicated by DGP Bhawra, an AK-94 assault rifle was among the three other weapons used for the murder. There were also reported to be eight assailants, and the vehicles used for Moose Wala’s murder had fake number plates. According to IGP Pradeep Yadav, the killers would have been arrested sooner had it not been for the fake number plates.
Sources said that the Congress leader, who usually used his bulletproof Fortuner, was travelling in his other SUV which is not bulletproof. Furthermore, Mansa Senior Superintendent of Police Gaurav Toora indicated that Moose Wala 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 has informed that a police investigation is underway regarding the alleged role of the Lawrence Bishnoi gang in the killing. The Canada-based Goldy Brar, allegedly a member of the Bishnoi gang, claimed responsibility hours after the incident, in a Facebook post. He also alleged that the police did not take action against Moose Wala over SAD leader Vicky Middukhera’s murder. The Akali Dal leader was shot dead in a market in Mohali’s sector 71, in August 2021. While the police arrested three shooters, one of them named Moose Wala’s manager Shaganpreet Singh, who has been absconding. Currently, with Goldy Brar claiming the responsibility for this attack, sources in Delhi Police’s Special Cell have indicated that they are looking into the role played by those associated with Lawrence Bishnoi, whose gang Brar is a part of.
Notably, many members and associates of the Bishnoi gang are in jail across Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, and Rajasthan. While Bishnoi is lodged in a Rajasthan jail, he has, reportedly, still managed to run his gang. In 2018, his friend and associate Sampat Nehru, allegedly tried to kill Bollywood actor Salman Khan, and was arrested by the Haryana Special Task Force in Bangalore.
On the political front, Sidhu Moose Wala’s death has caused a significant row. He had joined the Congress party in November 2021, after getting the ticket for the Mansa assembly constituency. Moose Wala unsuccessfully contested in this year’s state assembly polls from the Mansa district, defeated by AAP’s Dr Vijay Singla, who was recently dropped from CM Mann’s cabinet over corruption allegations. The Punjab CM is currently a subject of raging criticism over Moose Wala’s death.
CM Mann took to Twitter to express his shock over the incident on Sunday night, and urge people to keep calm. “I am Shocked and Deeply saddened by the gruesome 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,” he tweeted.
Earlier today, the CM also ordered a probe into the decision of Moose Wala’s reduced security, and also sought clarification on DGP Bhawra’s statement regarding the incident. This was after the Congress leader’s father Balkaur Singh sent CM Mann a letter seeking a CBI and NIA probe into the incident. Singh has also demanded an apology from the Punjab DGP for relating his son’s death to a gang war.
The Congress party also tweeted, “The murder of Shri Sidhu Moose Wala, Congress candidate from Punjab & a talented musician, has come as a terrible shock to the Congress party & the entire nation. Our deepest condolences to his family, fans & friends. We stand united & undeterred, at this time of extreme grief.”
Congress’s Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, attacking the AAP state government, said, “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.”
Former CM and Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh also took to Twitter and said that Moose Wala’s “brutal murder” is shocking, and offered condolences to his 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,” read his tweet.
Punjab Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring, who played a major role in bringing Moose Wala into the Congress party, said that he was “shocked beyond belief and expression”. Warring also called for dismissing the AAP government over the incident. “He was showered with bullets in Mansa just 2 days after @BhagwantMann govt withdrew his security. @AAPPunjab govt has lost moral authority. It must be DISMISSED,” he tweeted.