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While Punjab Police is busy arresting Kejriwal’s critics, law and order deteriorates in Punjab: Murders, drugs, communal violence after AAP came to power

Author: Amit Kelkar
Publication: OpIndia.com
Date: May 6, 2022
URL:      https://www.opindia.com/2022/05/while-punjab-police-arrest-political-opponents-law-and-order-deteriorates-in-punjab-murders-drugs-communal-violence-after-aap-came-to-power/?s=03

Now that he has Punjab Police in his pocket, we will see more and more of such cases where anyone saying anything against Kejriwal will be arrested

It has been nearly 2 months since Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) won a thumping victory in Punjab absolutely destroying Congress and Shiromani Akali Dal. In these 2 months, Punjab has seen a spike in murders in the state, with even famous Kabaddi players not immune to the violence, videos of the open sale of drugs in the state are going viral, and the state even witnessed communal violence after many many years.

Within the first 3 weeks of the AAP government coming to power, the state saw 19 murders, including 3 targeted killings. The rising crime graph in the state drew sharp criticism from all quarters but didn’t matter to Punjab Police. Even ruling Aam Aadmi Party’s supporters are not safe in the state right now as Dharminder Singh, president of the kabaddi club at Daun Kalan village, and an AAP campaigner, found out when he was brazenly killed.

Just yesterday, a couple was brutally murdered in Ludhiana while their daughter could hear their shrieks. These are hardly isolated cases in Punjab over the last 2 months as criminals are getting more and more brazen, and openly executing their activities.

While crime and violence are peaking in Punjab, the local police have other priorities, targeting anyone who speaks against Haryana-born Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Since coming to power in Punjab, AAP has been using Punjab Police officers as Arvind Kejriwal’s personal henchmen, targeting anyone who dares to speak against the Delhi Chief Minister.

News of murders has become so common in Punjab during the last 2 months that nobody even bats an eyelid when one reads about a murder in the state. There are viral videos of the open sale of drugs in the state, while everyone else knows where to get chitta in the state, only Punjab Police doesn’t know. What happened in Patiala when a temple was attacked is there for everyone to see. ‘Khalistan Zindabad’ slogans were raised in the open by the separatists in the state.

Any sane mind will ask where is Punjab Police when law and order has gone to the dogs in the state. Well, Punjab Police is busy targeting people who speak against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal.

Earlier today, Punjab Police sent a team to Delhi to arrest BJP leader Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga over his tweets against Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal. For a tweet made from Delhi, by a Delhi resident, against the Delhi Chief Minister, Punjab Police decided to arrest him without informing local Delhi Police. They even beat up the old father of Bagga because his son dared to tweet against Punjab’s actual CM.

This was not unexpected, Arvind Kejriwal had always expressed his dictatorial mindset and has always shared how he would like to suppress any dissent. From threatening to jail every journalist to sending people to prison for posting anything ‘offensive’ online, Kejriwal has been very open about his fascist mindset.

Now that he has Punjab Police in his pocket, and is running Punjab directly, we will see more and more of such cases where anyone saying anything against Kejriwal will be arrested from any corner of India. Meanwhile, Punjab sinks into chaos with deteriorating law and order as Punjab Police is busy following the orders of their actual boss, Arvind Kejriwal.
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Author: Alka Dhupkar
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 2, 2022
URL:      https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/loudspeaker-lessons-for-india-from-a-maharashtra-village/articleshow/91259002.cms

The villagers of Barad have passed a resolution to stop the use of loudspeakers

Barad shows that strong-arm tactics are not needed to curb noise pollution; a simple matter of sitting across a table and discussing can do wonders

Barad is a biggish village in Nanded district of Maharashtra with a population of around 15,000. It is roughly 20km from Nanded city. Over time, the village has prospered and places of worship, among other buildings, have been renovated.

The village has 15 religious places — 12 Hindu temples and a place of worship each for Buddhist, Jain and Muslim communities. In some neighbourhoods, these religious places are in close proximity. No problem there.

It was only when these places started using loudspeakers to broadcast sermons, aartis and bhajans that the problem started. It became a veritable Tower of Babel — all noise and confusion.

“Since five in the morning, we used to play songs. In some places, one couldn’t hear the other’s songs or for that matter what was played in our temple,” says Suresh Deshmukh, a trustee of the local Hanuman temple.

For days on end, farmer Sharad Kawle’s 80-year-old grandmother couldn’t get a peaceful night’s sleep because of the rampant use of loudspeakers in the village.

But all this is in the past now. In charged times like these, Barad stands out as a model of communal harmony. Back in 2018, the villagers unanimously decided to remove loudspeakers from all religious places.

So, what happened in 2018?

According to deputy sarpanch Balasaheb Shankarao Deshmukh, sometime in December 2017, a Ganesh temple was using loudspeakers to broadcast maha aarti and a Buddha vihar nearby was playing religious songs. This went on till late at night.

“Groups from both sides started raising voices against each other, asking that the volume be lowered. Harmony in the village was completely disturbed,” he says. “Somehow we managed to cool tempers, but the tension simmered.”

But this wasn’t the only incident. A local school kept complaining about noise pollution to the Shiva temple trust and others in their area. The students couldn’t concentrate on studies because there was a kind of competition in using loudspeakers till late night and early mornings among all the religions.

The villagers were fed up. Some of them met after the tension escalated between Buddha and Ganpati followers. During a meeting with the local police, they discussed the proposal of removing all loudspeakers.

Thereafter, the villagers held a meeting with all the religious groups separately. Everybody accepted that the use of loudspeakers was a cause for concern and social discord. The religious trusts said if it was mandatory for all religious groups then they would also stop using loudspeakers.

After the consultations, a special gram sabha was called and a unanimous resolution was passed.

The villagers agreed to use sound boxes instead of loudspeakers. The only caveat: the volume of the sound box should be maintained at a pre-mandated level so the sound does not go beyond the walls of the holy place.

The gram panchayat has already installed around 40 small sound boxes for local announcements such as deaths, vaccination or other government programmes.

After the noise, peace

Yogesh Ratnparakhi, who runs Om Sai Coaching Classes in Barad, says, “In my centre, there are around 100 students and I can’t tell you how happy we all are that the loudspeakers have finally stopped. Earlier, students would use unending noise as an excuse not to study. Now, they properly focus on studies.”

Kiran Mahajan, a trustee of Chandra Prabhu Digambar Jain temple, says, “Ours is a private temple that is open to the public. We too had installed a loudspeaker because others installed it too. But after the removal of loudspeakers, we didn’t lose any devotees. Loudspeakers actually don’t matter.”

Sharad Kawle, the farmer, says, “Many of us in this village are followers of the Varkari bhakti movement. I believe that your religious activity should not disturb others. Keep it personal, so we all supported this proposal.”

His views are echoed by Sardar Sattar Khan Pathan of Jama Masjid in Barad. “We respect festivals of all communities. The kind of communal harmony we have maintained would not have been possible with loudspeakers at each religious place in the village.”

According to Vasant Lalme, a trustee of the Shiva temple, loudspeakers are not essential for singing bhajans or kirtans. “Devotion is a very personal feeling. It can be attained without loudspeakers. We have proved it.”

Model village

Deputy sarpanch Deshmukh, however, is disappointed that his village has not been given due recognition for the innovative solution to the menace of unchecked loudspeakers. The village doesn’t encourage the use of loudspeakers even for political rallies, weddings or other celebrations.

In other ways, too, Barad can be touted as a model village. It has received state awards for cleanliness and drinking water distribution management, open defecation-free status, success of ‘tanta mukti’ yojana (a scheme to clear local disputes at the village level) and other achievements.

The village has 20 CCTV cameras, which have helped curb theft, sexual harassment and other crimes. The village has developed a proper watershed system; a dormitory near a rural hospital is a unique feature of the village. It has also built a hostel for girl students, it has a zilla parishad school, multiple anganwadis, among other facilities.

As the noise over the use of loudspeakers at religious places grows louder and various state governments are using strong-arm tactics, perhaps it is Barad’s use of consultation that stands out more than its other achievements.