UK

One year on from the death of Punjabi hip hop star Sidhu Moose Wala, his father says he is destroyed by his son’s killing.

Speaking exclusively to Sky News, Mr Singh says he has not been able to heal from the pain of losing his only child.

Sidhu Moose Wala was a global icon who released more than 60 singles and became a household name in Punjab and among the diaspora Sikh population in the UK and Canada.

His father is currently in the UK working on creating a permanent tribute to the Punjabi hip hop star.

We met in Kent, deciding to chat at the local gurdwara where the family, including Sidhu, would often visit.

The detailed stonework and delicate wood carvings of Gravesend’s Gurdwara are beautiful. It created a peaceful sanctuary for our conversation with Mr Singh.

He clearly felt at ease in this place of prayer, nodding and stopping to talk with a number of people who recognised him as we wandered through the cloisters.

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We climbed the white marble staircase to find a spot to chat away from the congregation.

We met in the week before the anniversary of Moose Wala’s death.

“I felt completely cut up,” Mr Singh told me.

“I was lost. When a child from a simple family is taken away from the world in this way, then it would absolutely destroy you.”

Moose Wala – whose real name Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu – was shot dead by unidentified gunmen on 29 May last year in Mansa, Punjab.

The day before, it had been publicly announced that his state security would be slimmed down by Punjab’s new government to redirect resources.

‘Death threats’

The family says the timing was suspicious and now feel that their lives are in danger too.

“We come from an honest, hardworking family, but yet still my only child is killed in a way that you wouldn’t even kill an animal,” Mr Singh said.

“What safety do we have? Every other day I receive a death threat. What have I done wrong? Should I not be seeking justice for my son? Something that is in my right to do.”

The perceived lack of progress in the investigation is a source of anger for Mr Singh, who is exhausted in his fight for justice.

The case is ‘going so slow’

“The saddest thing about this all is that the case is going so slow and I want to emphasise to your viewers around the world, that if the case carries on with the same pace, I will die and then there will be no justice for my son.”

So far 27 people have been jailed for their part in the murder and the investigation is ongoing.

Sky News contacted the Punjab police and state government for an update regarding the murder investigation but received no response.

Moose Wala started his musical journey in 2016.

After studying engineering, he moved to Canada where hundreds of thousands of Sikhs have emigrated.

The rapper was renowned for fusing modern hip-hop and classic Punjabi music, which connected Punjabi audiences across borders.

As Moose Wala’s career progressed, his songs became more socially, culturally and politically conscious.

He made history when he became the first singer from India to perform at Wireless Festival in 2021.

Guns and tractors

But his music had been controversial.

He had an affinity for guns, which would sometimes feature in his music videos and on his social media platforms. But his father tells Sky News, this portrayal is far from the accurate version of his son.

“After Sidhu’s death, wrong accusations have been made against him. He was a well-known celebrity in the world. They are trying to tarnish his image.

“Despite being such a huge celebrity, he was a down to earth guy.

“He even wrote in his songs that he had no interest in going to clubs and pubs, but instead would always go out with his tractor to the fields when he was free.”

The family didn’t come to Gravesend often, but had a base here where family and friends would welcome them with open arms.

We were shown where Moose Wala and his family would stay when in the UK.

His bed is still made

The singer’s bed is still made. They haven’t moved his belongings since his last visit in September 2021 just months before his life was cut short.

“That’s where he’d play on the PlayStation,” Mr Singh tells me.

His friends bring out his harmonium: “This is what he’d use to practise his music here,” says his father.

Read more:
Sidhu Moose Wala’s father accuses Punjab govt of ‘suppressing’ those seeking justice

Sidhu Moose Wala: Punjabi singer and rapper shot dead

It was a private place that Mr Singh wanted to show us even though it was clearly a painful reminder of his son not being here.

“I don’t come into this room a lot.

“It brings back past memories and feelings when I’m in this room.”

“I get a lump in my throat, so I can’t sit here for too long.”

He is the father of a man once dubbed one of India’s most forceful musical exports, but behind this celebrity tragedy is simply a father desperate for answers.

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