Killings in Punjab indicate fast crumbling law and order under AAP govt



The culture of corruption has led to poor law and order, a corrupt jail system has become heaven for criminals and gangsters, writes former IAS officer V.S.Pandey


The recent tragic killing of a popular Punjabi singer has raised many serious questions. Firstly, the cavalier method in which the government of Punjab and its Chief Minister ordered the withdrawal of security provided to more than 400 individuals without adequate scrutiny of threat perceptions, was callous.  It has become the prevalent culture  that if any individual  is in the good books of the ruling dispensation then he  will be provided  security paraphernalia to enhance his or her status in the society, irrespective of the fact whether threat perception to the concerned- exists or not. It is a kind of patronage bestowed on some and deprived to others -based solely on their political affiliations. This has been going on for decades across all states but in the present Punjab episode, not only the security of hundreds was withdrawn without  proper scrutiny but it was also widely publicized with much fanfare -as if  it was a major achievement of the government , in the glorious  tradition of the ruling party’s national convener, Kejariwal. Ironically the self same  Aam Aadmi party’s Punjab Government and its Chief Minister, sanctioned Z plus security to the Delhi Chief Minister Kejariwal , without any serious analysis of the threat perception. More astonishing is the fact that the central agencies and not the Punjab Police , were responsible for analyzing and reporting  on the level of the security threat to Kejariwal. Strange are the ways of our politicians whom our great people have chosen to hand over their destiny.


The other issue that is being intensely debated  is the horrific condition of our jails where the murder plot was hatched and then executed with such precision. It does not end here. Soon after this gruesome killing  of the singer came the news of a criminal lodged inside Tihar jail claiming responsibility for this broad daylight murder. Yesterday, another accomplice of the jailed gangster, claimed to have fired the bullets killing Siddhu Moosewaale . These kind of claims show how brazen and fearless the criminals and  gangsters have become. It was also proclaimed on a prominent news channel that very soon , some others may also meet the same fate. How can the criminals lodged inside high security prisons like Tihar  plan such murderous assaults with impunity- begs an answer. It has become commonplace in our country that gangsters and crime syndicates not only operate brazenly from within the premises of jails  but also  are freely using  mobile phones and  deadly prohibited weapons. It is common knowledge that our jails are dens of corruption and like most other institutions -everything is available there for a price. Very recently, a renowned businessman/ industrialist while lodged in Tihar ,on Supreme Court’s orders , was found to be enjoying five star comforts. Such is the pathetic state of affairs of our jails due to  nefarious corruption.


The  public is  worried about an impending gang war in Punjab and  so is the government and the law and order apparatus there. Still, the prevailing politico- drug- criminal nexus is flourishing . The state of Punjab and its youth are in the grip of drug culture and a lot has been written about it but nothing has been effectively done to resolve this unfortunate situation. The spread of crimes related to drug trafficking has its genesis in the all pervading culture of corruption in our system. Politics, administration, police and the judicial system as a whole,  have all fallen prey and succumbed to this menace. This grave problem confronting our nation has been swept under the carpet and we continue to ignore the elephant of corruption occupying every room. All the governments -at the states or center , past and present , proclaimed a policy of zero tolerance towards corruption but were themselves mired in it. Every organ of government, at every level, is steeped in it but those in power tend to dismiss it- as if corruption doesn’t exist! In any official meeting , big or small , everything  is discussed and analyzed except humungous corruption. At times, governments do claim to have come down heavily on corruption but it has always been cosmetic.


This all pervading culture of corruption has led to poor law and order , a corrupt jail system and even given birth constantly to criminals and gangsters . Deprivation of justice to any one individual , culminates in the victim’s vendetta-  by taking the law into their own hands, and there  starts the vicious circle of crime- criminal – victims and it goes on ad nauseam -till it reaches the stage of gang war . This Punjab incident is one such example . In all states, particularly in norther Indian states like Uttar Pradesh , Bihar etc. crime syndicates , gang lords are  common place and they have  clearly demarcated areas of operations, with the unstated policy of non interference in one another’s domain. This octopus like grip of gangster lords   over the populace will end only when corruption is tackled everywhere and at all levels , beginning at the top . Politicians have to first clean themselves and the way they pursue politics. Mahatma Gandhi  had clearly enunciated this . Mahatma believed that no form of government will be able to cleanse itself of corruption unless morality and ethics are imbibed and observed by society- and particularly those in power. He wrote –

“It is the duty of all leading men, whatever their persuasion or party, to safeguard the dignity of India. That dignity can’t be saved if misgovernment and corruption flourish. Misgovernment and corruption always go together.”


An ethical,  fearless effort  from the top only  will deliver  results. We have ignored the elephant in the room  long  enough. The time has come to eradicate and eliminate corruption completely and become a Vishwaguru by becoming the most Honest nation in this universe.


(Vijay Shankar Pandey is former Secretary Government of India)

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