Criticising Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his statement that Punjab’s law and order situation was in tatters especially after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) came to power, Punjab Cabinet Minister Gurmeet Singh Meet Hayer, on Wednesday, said it is just a futile attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to malign the state’s image to gain political mileage in the poll-bound Gujarat.
Addressing a press conference, Meet Hayer said the BJP is unnerved with the rising popularity of the AAP in Gujarat and they are using cheap and inimical tactics just to escape an imminent defeat in the Gujarat Assembly elections. He said the crime rate is far less in Punjab as compared to many BJP ruled states including Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Rejecting Shah’s statement, the Punjab minister said the law and order situation is intact in the border state and the state government is working dedicatedly to eradicate mafia and gangster-culture, which was patronised by successive governments during their decade-old regimes. Under this drive, 402 gangsters have been arrested and 363 weapons have been recovered after AAP formed the government in the state, he said.
The minister said the BJP and Opposition leaders should not run calumnious campaigns against the AAP government in Punjab. He said as per NCRB report, Punjab ranked 15th in the number of cases of gun or explosive related violence among the states between 2018 and 2021, far behind Haryana and Rajasthan.
The AAP leader said Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan top three states with highest gun violence cases in the country. From 2018 to 2021, 134958 cases of gun violence were registered in Uttar Pradesh, 57653 in Madhya Pradesh and 27193 in Rajasthan. While only 1820 cases of gun violence were reported in Punjab as against 8759 cases of gun violence in Haryana in the same span. Even crime against women is also on rise in BJP states, he added.
Hayer said in the last four years, cases of gun violence in Haryana are increasing five times faster than in Punjab. Singers use guns and pistols in many Haryanvi songs but still Punjab is blamed for spreading gun culture and the Union minister didn’t mince a single word against Haryana, he added.
The minister said that when the Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP government again formed government in 2012, over 855 murders took place in a year.