By Deepak Kumar Rath
Since the inception of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab, the state has been witnessing the abysmal and deteriorating law and order situation. And this is substantiated by incidents of murder of renowned Punjabi song singer Siddhu Moosewala, rocket attacks on two police stations in the state and the recent attack on Ajnala police station by Amritpal Singh and his supporters. Punjab, known for its vibrant culture, rich history and agricultural economy, is seeing a rise in criminal activity, with gang wars, drug trafficking and targeted killings becoming increasingly common. The state is facing several challenges including the rise in drug trade, political violence and communal tension. According to recent reports, drug trafficking has been one of the major drivers of the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. Punjab is a major transit point for drug trafficking from Afghanistan and Pakistan to other parts of India. The state’s proximity to the international border makes it an attractive destination for drug traffickers. What is more, Punjab has witnessed deadly attacks on activists or leaders associated with Hindu organisations over the past few years. Ravindra Gosai and Brig Jagdish Gagneja (retired) of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Satpal and his son Ramesh Kumar of the Dera Sacha Sauda, Amit Sharma of the Hindu Takht and Durga Prasad Gupta of the Shiv Sena were among those targeted and killed. Apart from this, the convoy of Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale was also fired upon, although he escaped while one of his companions was killed. RSS volunteer Naresh Kumar also had a narrow escape from the firing. These incidents were ignored by the governments and except for a few arrests, in most of the cases the attackers are evading the law. In such a situation, separatist elements were encouraged in Punjab and allegedly supporters of the sect started challenging India and fanning the fire of separatism.
Here, it is worthwhile mentioning that Khalistan’s problem in 20th century was a geo-political one, hence it was backed by Pakistan. In 21st century it has graduated to a geo-economics issue and hence backed by Canada. It is noteworthy that Canada is one of the biggest exporters of food products to India. Radical sectarian politics has been spreading in recent times. Certainly its morale has increased after the coming of the Aam Aadmi Party government. The demand for Lovepreet’s release is not the first thing. Gurcharan Singh Hawara, head of another Khalistani organisation Qaumi Insaf Morcha, has been demanding the release of his son since January. It is important to mention here that Hawara is the father of Jagtar Singh Hawara, convicted for the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh. Gurcharan Singh says that the culprit of Beant’s murder should also be released. Interestingly, supporters of Qaumi Insaf Morcha tried to gherao Bhagwant Mann’s official residence in Chandigarh in February this year, in which 30 policemen were injured in the clash. They are being supported by separatist organisations especially living in Canada. That’s why the challenges of Punjab Police are increasing. On a concluding note, I would like to emphasise that the Khalistan issue is a serious threat to India’s unity and integrity. Therefore, it is high time the Government of India started treating it as an issue akin to terrorism in Kashmir. Strict measures shall have to be taken against those who take up arms against the nation. Also those who want to bleed India with ‘thousand cuts’ should not be spared in the name of vote bank politics.