For the reason that AAP authorities has come into energy in Punjab, high headlines from the state have been dominated by information of murders, extortions and protests gone violent. Whereas the homicide of singer Sidhu Singh Moose Wala this week has despatched shock waves in all the nation however folks on the bottom know that it was not the one high-profile homicide within the state in current instances. Whether or not it was the focused killings of worldwide Kabaddi gamers, the homicide of a Congress chief and ex-Gram Sarpanch in Sangrur or the cold-blooded killing of kin of a well-known Punjabi movie star, Punjab has witnessed a number of situations of violence in opposition to well-connected and highly effective folks. One can solely think about what the frequent folks have to be going through within the state.
A query that many are asking is what’s plaguing Punjab’s legislation and order scenario? The reply lies in its thriving Gangster tradition and political patronage of the identical. Punjab has greater than 11 infamous gangster teams whose community extends from Rajasthan to UP with a few of their key operatives even primarily based in international international locations equivalent to Canada. Such is their notoriety internationally that the Canadian-Punjabi Gangster community is ranked third behind Italian-Canadian Mafia and Asian organised Triad crime collectives in Canada.
Such is their notoriety internationally that the Canadian-Punjabi Gangster community is ranked third behind Italian-Canadian Mafia and Asian organised Triad crime collectives in Canada.
The favored tradition in Punjab particularly within the post-militancy and post-liberalisation period may be blamed with none doubt for the glorification of this gangster tradition within the state. These gangsters have an enormous social media following the place they flaunt their high-ended way of life stuffed with SUVs and weapons. Apparently, after Sidhu Moose Wala’s killing, they have been busy competing with one another to take duty for his homicide on social media to realize extra following. On a number of events, they’ve killed fellow gangsters even whereas they have been in police custody. Certainly one of them even deliberate to kill Salman Khan whereas he was on the town for a movie shoot. They thrive on their political connections and do rent-seeking from the wealthy and well-known for a residing.
Issues get even murkier when their hyperlinks with inimical cross-border forces are scrutinised. These gangster networks take pleasure in tacit assist from Pakistan’s ISI which is emboldening them to disturb legislation and order in Punjab, a key border state. Harvinder Singh Rinda, a gangster who ran away to Pakistan is now allegedly controlling the gangster community in an effort to foment anti-India actions within the title of “Khalistan”. Reportedly, the primary conspirator of a grenade assault on Police Intelligence Headquarters in Mohali, Lakhbir Singh Landa was a Punjab-based gangster earlier than he ran away to Canada and joined ISI-backed Babbar Khalsa.
In Punjab, the nexus between politicians and gangsters could be very sturdy with leaders throughout the political spectrum patronising them to wield muscle energy on their behalf. This was on show in 2019 in full glory when a Shiromani Akali Dal chief Dalbir Singh Dhilwan was shot useless and principal accused Jaggu Bhagnwapuria’s hyperlinks with Congress and Akali Dal surfaced. This nexus may be traced again to the militancy days of Punjab. However the energetic participation of gangsters in electoral politics continues even at present. Mafia of all types together with drug and sand mafias run amok in Punjab with deep assist from politicians. What’s worse is that they canvass for votes in elections, draw crowds at rallies and even take part in pupil elections in universities of Punjab.
On one hand, we now have Punjab which is on the verge of changing into a nationwide safety situation yet again. On the opposite, there’s the instance of Uttar Pradesh the place CM Yogi Adityanath returned to a thumping victory on the again of a profitable report on legislation & order.
Punjab can study loads from the UP Mannequin of legislation and order. UP additionally had a thriving gangster tradition with open assist from politicians however the Yogi authorities’s intervention has turned across the state’s legislation and order scenario. In his first tenure, CM Yogi Adityanath earned the sobriquet of “Bulldozer Baba” due to his coverage of demolishing properties of gangsters in an effort to set an instance and deter different criminals from following swimsuit. He didn’t even spare political bigwigs equivalent to Azam Khan from his coverage who was lodged in jail and his property was “bulldozed”. Round ₹1500 crore value of property was seized from criminals and gangsters within the first 4 years of his time period throughout which housing initiatives for the poor have been launched by the UP authorities. By the top of his tenure, 139 criminals have been killed and 3196 have been injured in encounters with the UP police. Report 13,700 circumstances have been registered and 43000 folks have been arrested underneath the Gangster Act.
In his second time period, Yogi’s resolve has bought even stronger along with his new coverage of each police station within the state cracking down mandatorily on 10 high criminals of their jurisdiction each month. UP has a complete of 1536 thanas and on this means each month, motion in opposition to 15360 criminals can be taken within the state. UP’s well-known Gangster Act which was initially conceived within the 80s by a Congress authorities has been controversial but it surely has additionally helped in cracking down on Gangsters within the state. Punjab doesn’t also have a related act in place. An Organised Crimes Act alongside the traces of the Maharashtra Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA) was mentioned many a time but it surely was at all times put into chilly storage over the concern of getting used for political vendetta. Senior officers within the Police institution have again and again flagged the necessity for such an act. The conviction price of gangsters underneath the current act is simply 1-5% with many ‘A’ class gangs nonetheless energetic within the state. Therefore, they level out how the police should be empowered in order that gangsters may be reined in.
The crackdown on the gangster-politician nexus and eradication of gangster tradition requires political will and wherewithal to enhance legislation and order. Nevertheless, the AAP authorities’s coverage of taking part in politics and taking U-turns isn’t serving to a lot. A obtrusive instance of the identical is Arvind Kejriwal’s promise that AAP will finish the transport mafia within the state if elected to energy. However after elections, his personal MLA Amalok Singh was concerned in violence over management of truck unions the place 30 folks have been severely injured. To not point out, Mohali Police’s loopy witch-hunt over a mere tweet of BJP spokesperson Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga whereas their very own intelligence headquarters confronted a grenade assault simply miles away from the high-security zone of state capital Chandigarh. CM
Bhagwant Mann has additionally not proven the identical maturity and seriousness as displayed by Yogi in eradicating crime from UP. One of many first of his priorities was to tour Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat to enhance AAP’s electoral fortunes after changing into the CM. AAP’s official deal with was publicising the removing of Moose Wala’s safety on Twitter and the very subsequent day he was shot useless. AAP should realise that Punjab isn’t Delhi the place a big public relations & media finances can compensate for motion on the bottom. Its report of blaming the centre won’t work in a key border state. As an alternative of in search of low-cost political thrills, Mann should get right down to the whiteboard and draw a critical plan to ramp up Punjab’s safety.
The writer is a PhD in Worldwide Relations from the Division of Worldwide Relations, South Asian College. Views expressed on this article are these of the writer and don’t signify the stand of this publication.