The Punjabi Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government, led by Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, has banned songs that glorify gun culture and violence, outlawed flashing guns, and commanded a review of all active arms permits in the state.
The state government’s home department on Sunday issued a formal directive to the director general of police (DGP), police commissioners, deputy commissioners, and senior superintendents of police in this respect. Following the chief minister’s directives, the crackdown on gun culture also includes stricter requirements for the issue of new weapons permits and sporadic gun checks to reduce illicit gun possession.
The state’s deteriorating law and order situation has drawn criticism from the opposition, including the Congress, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). After the consecutive killings of Dera Sacha Sauda supporter Pardeep Singh in Faridkot and Shiv Sena (Taksali) leader Sudhir Suri in Amritsar within a week, concerns about law and order have increased.
The home department has ordered a rigorous prohibition on songs that glorify firearms and violence as well as a total ban on carrying and exhibiting weapons at public events, social gatherings, weddings, and religious locations. It said that showing off guns, especially on social media, should be prohibited.
The administration has also mandated that all permits for weapons be thoroughly reviewed within the next three months, with clear instructions that any licence discovered to have been granted to the incorrect individual must be promptly cancelled. According to a government decree, no new arms licence will be granted unless the district magistrate (deputy commissioner) is satisfied with the justifications for doing so. According to government sources, the majority of the four lakh licence holders for both prohibited and non-prohibited weapons are from Punjab, which was severely affected by terrorism in the 1980s and 1990s.
The government’s directives for filing a police report against anyone engaging in hate speech against any community were also reaffirmed in the decree. On May 12, Mann denounced the gangster and gun culture trend that specific musicians are promoting and issued a warning that anyone discovered to be participating would face severe punishment.