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Jailbreak puts spotlight on law and order in poll-bound Punjab

At a time when the political parties of Punjab are whipping up poll frenzy on Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2016 00:35 IST
HT Correspondent
A police personnel stands at the gate of the Nabha maximum-security jail on Monday.
A police personnel stands at the gate of the Nabha maximum-security jail on Monday. (AFP Photo)

At a time when the political parties of Punjab are whipping up poll frenzy on Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL) canal issue, debt waivers for farmers and drug abuse among the youth, the daring jailbreak at Nabha in Patiala district has once again put the spotlight on the law and order in poll-bound Punjab.

The border state faces the danger of extremism from enemies across the border and within. Decades after the long spell of militancy came to an end, attack on Pathankot air base in January 2016 and Dinanagar police station in July 2015 gave way to fear of revival of terrorism.

The spate of incidents of sacrilege of Guru Granth Sahib in the recent months helped Sikh radicals get more politically mobile ahead of the high-octane elections. They held a congregration — Sarbat Khalsa — last year at Amritsar. The separatist agenda is getting a push from organisations and advocacy groups abroad such as Sikhs for Justice (SFJ).

Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh, whose Canada tour was stalled following a complaint by SFJ, and his US trip marred by protests by radicals, has even hinted at extremists having the sympathy of some Canadian ministers.

Though the Parkash Singh Badal government has been blaming foreign hand in all this, it cannot escape the responsibility for losing grip on law and order. The daylight murder of Namdhari sect matriarch Chand Kaur and attack on RSS leader Jagdish Gagneja, who later succumbed to his injuries, have exposed how outlaws are getting emboldened. The fact that the government had to recommend both these cases to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) shows either the home department headed by SAD president and deputy CM Sukhbir Badal is clueless or incompetent to handle these elements.

The gang wars in Punjab too points to gangsters becoming a law unto themselves. Both Congress and Aam Aadmi Party have demanded more paramilitary forces, fearing violence in polls. The daredevilry of jailbreak has shown their fears may not be entirely unfounded.