Even as the Delhi government is already under fire over a circular regarding "defamatory" media content, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal has blamed the media for bringing a bad name to the state due to "excessive" reporting of crimes linked to the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD).
When asked about the law and order situation in Punjab, especially after the Moga molestation case, Badal said incidents of crime were reported in other states as well.
"Criminal activities connected to the SAD are excessively reported, while other reports of crime are presented in an ordinary manner," Badal said. He was at Rakhra village in the district on Wednesday to attend the death anniversary of Jaswant Kaur, mother of cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra.
"Hunda eh hai ki jinnian eh ballian aapan khabran likhde haan, fer eh sube nu badnam kar dindian ne (overdose of media coverage of such issues defames the state)," Badal asserted.
He added, "A crime-free society is not possible anywhere in the world. Even countries such as the US are not immune to it."
However, Badal reiterated the state government's commitment to maintaining law and order in Punjab. "The only thing is how to control and stop crime. Efforts are being made to ensure that law and order is not disturbed in the state," he said.
The Delhi government had recently issued a circular, directing officials to lodge complaints regarding defamatory reports in the media.
'Don't take farmers' land without consent'
Sticking to his stand on the land acquisition bill, Badal said the clauses of consent, adequate compensation and rehabilitation of farmers were a must for a pro-farmer bill.
"The land is like children to farmers. It should not be taken away in any case without his express consent. The Punjab model of land acquisition is the best in the country and it should be replicated at the national level," he said.
On the appointment of BJP MLA and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) man Tara Singh as the chief of the management board at Takht Sri Hazur Sahib, the CM said it had hurt the Sikh psyche as every Sikh was against political interference in their religious affairs. "We have already apprised the home ministry as well as the state (Maharashtra) government concerned. I am confident that the issue will be resolved soon," he added.
Cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, his brothers Darshan Singh Dhaliwal and Charanjit Singh Rakhra, SAD district president Indermohan Singh Bajaj and Akali leader Deepinder Singh Dhillon were present on the occasion.
Govt to seek return of artefacts taken away during Op Bluestar
Badal said the Punjab government would soon impress upon the Centre to return the books, rare manuscripts and other artefacts taken away by the army from the Sikh Reference Library, Amritsar, during Operation Bluestar in 1984.
"These rare artefacts are of immense historical and religious significance for every Sikh. We would intensify our efforts to bring these valuable articles, snatched away from us during Operation Bluestar, back to the state," the CM added.
The state government and the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee have been taking up the matter with successive central governments.
In 2004, then NDA government had ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to initiate a probe into the missing artefacts, but to no avail.
The library, which came into existence in 1946, had a collection of more than 20,000 books and rare manuscripts, including copies of handwritten 'birs' and 'janam sakhis' by Sikh gurus. It was badly damaged during Operation Bluestar.