Punjab’s hurdle for trigger-happy: Gun glorifying songs banned; existing arms licenses to be reviewed
AAP government has imposed a ban on songs promoting gun culture and violence, prohibited flaunting of weapons, and ordered a review of all existing arms licenses in Punjab state.
The Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government has imposed a ban on songs promoting gun culture and violence, prohibited flaunting of weapons and ordered a review of all existing arms licenses in the state.
An official order in this regard was issued by the home department of the state government on Sunday to director general of police, police commissioners, deputy commissioners and senior superintendents of police. The clampdown on gun culture following directions from chief minister Bhagwant Mann also includes tightening of procedures for issuance of fresh arms licenses, and random checking to curb illegal possession of guns.
The state government has been under fire from the opposition, particularly the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), over the deteriorating law and order situation in the state. Concerns over law and order have heightened after back-to-back murders of Shiv Sena (Taksali) leader Sudhir Suri in Amritsar and Dera Sacha Sauda follower Pardeep Singh in Faridkot, in one week.
According to the home department’s instructions, songs which glorify guns and violence should be strictly prohibited, and there should be a complete ban on carrying and displaying weapons at public events, social gatherings, wedding ceremonies and religious places. There should be a complete ban on flaunting of weapons including on social media, it said.
The department has also ordered a thorough review of all arms licenses within the next three months with clear directions that if any arm license is found to be issued to any ineligible person, it should be revoked immediately. No new arm license will be issued unless the concerned authority is satisfied about the grounds for the same, reads the government order. Punjab, hit by terrorism in 1980s and 1990s, has approximately four lakh arms license holders, including those of prohibited bore and non-prohibited bore, and most of these were issued during the militancy period, according to official sources.
The government order also reiterated the directions for registration of a police case against those who indulge in hate speech against any community. Mann had, on May 12, condemned the trend of gun culture and gangsterism being promoted by some singers, warning that those found involved will be dealt with sternly.
Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition, Partap Singh Bajwa said any steps taken by the government to improve law and order in the state or to safeguard the interests of common Punjabis are welcome. “They (government) have to be careful while reviewing the existing gun licenses so as not to disarm people who need firearms for their safety. However, action should be taken against those gun license holders who are involved in serious crimes like murder and attempt to murder. There is also an urgent need to crackdown on illegal weapons in the state, but the state government appears to be groping in the dark on that,” the Congress leader said.