Sidhu Moose Wala, a prominent Indian rapper-turned-politician, was shot dead Sunday while driving in the Mansa district of Punjab, police said. He was 28.
Punjab police chief Viresh Kumar said Moose Wala — real name: Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu — sustained gunshot wounds and was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead. Roughly 30 shell casings from at least three weapons were found at the scene, and a manhunt is on for his killers.
Local authorities said Moose Wala and two others were in the car when a pair of vehicles approached from the front and began firing at about 5:30 p.m. local time. The Press Trust of India reported that the shooting comes not long after the Punjab state government said it was scaling back security protections on more than 400 local officials and politicians, including Moose Wala.
Punjab police linked the crime to a rival gang, with a Canadian gang member reportedly claiming credit. But India’s ruling party, Bharatiya Janata, claims the killing was political. “Sidhu Moose Wala was gunned down in a state-sponsored murder,” the party said in a statement. “The AAP government is totally responsible for this.”
The Aam Aadmi Party is the ruling party in Punjab. Bhagwant Mann, an AAP member and Punjab’s chief minister, tweet a statement saying: “I am shocked and deeply saddened by the gruesome murder of Sidhu Moose Wala. Nobody involved will be spared. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and his fans across the world. I appeal everyone to stay calm.”
A popular rapper in India, Moose Wala had more than 8 million Instagram followers and millions of YouTube views for his videos. He began releasing singles in 2017 and had three studio albums, the most recent being 2021’s Moosetape. He hit the UK’s Asian Music Chart nearly two dozen times, including Top 10s from 2018 through the latest, “Never Fold,” which hit No. 5 this year. “Bambina Bole” (with Amrit Maan) and “47” (featuring Mist and Stefflon Dion) topped that chart in 2020 and 2019, respectively, and the former returned to the No. 1 spot after his death, according to the Charts Company.
Moose Wala also a handful of acting credits.
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