Indians are mourning the death of the popular Punjabi-language rapper Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, known by his stage name Sidhu Moose Wala, who was shot dead while travelling through a village in India, on Sunday.
Two others were also injured in the attack in Mansa, Punjab, according to reports.
Moose Wala and his friends were reportedly driving through the village of Jawahar Ke in Punjab when they were attacked, according to NDTV.
The singer was found bleeding heavily in his bullet-riddled SUV, and was rushed to the hospital where he was declared dead.
The incident took place a day after the Punjab government withdrew security for more than 400 people, including Moose Wala, as part of a drive to tackle VIP culture in the state.
His murder has sparked widespread outrage, and several political parties have blamed the local government for the deteriorating security situation in the state.
The immensely popular 28-year-old singer was known for his controversial and edgy lyrics. He has been criticised for promoting gun culture through his music.
He had joined India's Congress Party in 2021 and contested the Punjab elections from the Mansa constituency earlier this year.
Local police say his murder was part of a gang war and claimed that a Canada-based gangster had said they were responsibility for the attack.
"Lawrence Bishnoi gang is involved in this murder. Lucky, member of the gang has taken responsibility from Canada," Punjab’s top police officer VK Bhawra told the media.
He later clarified that he had not indicated Moose Wala was involved with any gangs.
Moose Wala was known for his strong political stance against Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government. He gained prominence for supporting farmers in Punjab during their months-long protest against government policies in 2020 and 2021.