Sometimes, even good things if done with wrong intentions can result in disaster. This has been the case with the AAP Government in Punjab, which withdrew security of over four hundred persons, not because it was unnecessary, but merely to seem pro-commoner and anti-VIP culture. This was made worse by making public the names of those whose privileges were thus withdrawn. The immediate repercussion has been the murder of singer and Congress party activist Sidhu Moose Wala. As has been pointed out by opposition leaders, the hypocrisy involved in this show of egalitarianism is highlighted by the fact that some ninety police personnel have been deployed for the security of AAP Supremo and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal – perhaps the first such case in India’s political history. This is obviously to satisfy the ego of one who feels powerless because he does not have command over the Delhi Police. Security has similarly been provided to AAP leader Raghav Chadda. It is only natural for the opposition and the common people to be miffed. (And this comes on the heels of a minister in the Mann Government being sacked for corruption, further compounding the public relations disaster.)
The security situation was a major issue in Punjab during the recent elections and, it seems, quite rightly. There has always been a gun and feuding culture in the state and it has been aggravated by the lawlessness induced by the Khalistan movement, as well as the flourishing drug smuggling business. The offshoot has been an increase in the number of criminal gangs. It has emerged already from the Moose Wala case that he had been under threat for some time now. The callous approach of the Punjab Government provided an opportunity that was immediately taken.
There is little scope for further politicking on the issue and an immediate response is necessary to counter the situation. Neither the state nor the Centre should hesitate to cooperate in forging short and long term strategies to address the underlying factors that have led to this violent culture – particularly in the social realm. It has been pointed out that Moose Wala was just one of the many singers who popularised the gun and drinking culture as an inherent part of Punjabi character. The entire lot of such ‘influencers’ must work proactively to correct this impression, particularly among the youth. The fundamentalist and intolerant elements that have intruded into the state’s culture should be cleansed for the betterment of society.