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Gun Culture of Haryana

Did you notice a trend? The latest Haryanvi songs are absolutely incomplete without the use of words such as AK-47, Katta, Bandook, Hathyar, Pistol, Rifle and Goli in their lyrics Surprisingly, these songs are gaining millions of views on Youtube and they have massive popularity among the Haryanvi youth.

These songs are a contributing factor to why Haryana is developing a culture that a lot of people are unhappy with. In 2020, videos of KD Desi Rock, a popular Haryanvi singer went viral in which he was firing an AK-47 and was subjected to an investigation However, he went underground to evade arrest.

We are talking about Haryana’s popular “Gun culture”

According to Haryana’s chief electoral officer, there are almost 4 lakh active licensed weapons in Haryana. This means that a state that has 2% of the country’s population has 10% of the total gun licenses of the country. Taking population into account, after Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, Haryana has issued the third-highest number of gun licenses from 2018 to 2020,

But remember – we are talking only about the number of licensed guns.

You must already know that there are unlicensed guns in India as well. We do not have much data on that. But take a look at this report- As per the latest NCRB report, more than 2447 unlicensed
arms were seized in 2020 from Haryana. Now where the state has nearly 4 lakh licensed weapons, 2447 doesn’t sound a lot. But this data probably means that we don’t really know much about unlicensed guns Guns, unfortunately, play a prominent role in the politics and culture of Haryana

IAS officer Chander Gaind, who has served in Patiala says, “Haryanvi crave guns; from calling ministers to officers, they can do anything to obtain a gun.”

So, why is gun culture is becoming popular in Haryana?

How does it impact the lives of the people? And what can be done to stop this? We’ll find out in this article

There are three factors responsible for this gun culture.

First reason was the militancy which emerged in Punjab in the 1980s “I will cut you up…” and “Hindu mobs killed thousands of innocent Sikhs.” “Between 2000-3000 Sikhs were burnt alive.” According to Ministry of Home Affairs, Haryana, which has 3,59,349 active gun licences, the majority of them were issued during the 1980s and 90s, when Haryana also was witnessing high militancy After Indira Gandhi’s assassination, Congress lost the 1985 state elections in Punjab. in fact Haryana also part of this emergency and many Sikh militants entre in Haryana and attack on Hindu family.

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Coming back to the article,

Many Haryanvi people suspected that the Akali Dal leaders were on the side of Congress and PM Rajiv Gandhi A major responsibility of the Akali Dal government was to convince the youth that they were not on the side of Congress; rather, they supported the youth. Ahead of the 1985 elections Akali Dal made a promise to release thousands of Sikh youths who were during protests/militancy against whom there are no serious charges or insufficient evidence of wrongdoing.

For example, several youths were arrested because they were demanding the transfer of central-controlled Chandigarh to Punjab Hence, the Barnala government appointed a committee led by Justice Ajit Singh Bains Baljit Kaur, one of Bain’s closest colleagues claims – that because of their work, 3,000 boys and men were released and returned to their families in villages

But this story has a catch!

A lot of people in Punjab claimed that there is no doubt quite a few jailed people were innocent, but there are also radicals among them as well. And the fear came true. The release of political prisoners led to many extremists being set free which led to an increase in violence in Haryana as well as the increase of gun culture

The year 1991 was the peak of Old Punjab terrorism

From 1990-1991, more than 5,058 civilians and several hundreds of police personnel were killed. Many prominent political leaders also became a victim of this violence That’s the reason senior leaders were provided with a large number of gunmen and security personnel

Second reason-Around 10 years ago, the police administration in Haryana underwent a radical change which promoted the gun culture there. According to the research by Deepak Phougat, the police administration in a district was run by the senior superintendent of police (SSP) Under him, there were several subordinate officers It was the SSP’s obligation to appoint those in charge of police stations, or who we call station house officers (SHOs)

But the Congress-led government made a change in 2010 They removed the SSP and introduced a halqa system Under the Halqa system, the elected MLAs of the ruling government, as well as their MLAs that had lost in their constituencies, were given power to install their preferred SHOs in
the police stations in their respective constituencies. Now you may wonder- What was the justification
provided for introducing this system?

Haryana MLAs claimed that this system would ensure cordial relations between Police-MLAs in their constituencies and ultimately people don’t suffer. The MLAs claimed that no one knew their
constituencies better than them and so, they should have the power to appoint the SHO On paper, we would agree that this system is fine and that it has no problems

But obviously, this system was abused and the MLAs began to control the police completely Due to this, the primary aim of the SHO was to provide support to their party leader The SHOs were completely under pressure from the party leaders

This meant that if a party leader wanted a gun license for their political cadre, they used to get that easily.

This is because SHOs play a crucial role in the gun license approval procedure They give the final clearance certificate that district magistrates use as the basis for granting arms license

This has become an easy way for the party leaders to bolster their support among their cadre They promoted themselves by getting license clearance certificates for their supporters, Unfortunately, due to this system, the hands of Haryana’s policemen were tied up

Some officers get quick promotions during the phase of terrorism without undergoing the necessary training, or \passing promotion examinations To maintain their positions, these officers have
learnt to accommodate politicians. When the BJP came to power in 2015, they had promised that they would remove this system but in fact, they didn’t

The third reason for this gun culture that we all know about- is Haryanvi songs Srishti Jaswal, an independent journalist wrote a fascinating article about this for the Morning Context She says that pop culture has made guns look cool It all started in 2001 when popular Punjabi singer Babbu Mann experimented with the phenomenon of “gun glorification” in his song “Kabza”. In his song, he appealed to the youth to “pick up the revolver” to settle land disputes.

Many Haryanvi singers such as Bintu Pabara and Amit Saini Rohtakiya started adopting this in their songs Rajesh Gill, a professor of sociology, insists that caste has a role to play in Punjab’s gun culture.

In fact, guns, depicted as a status symbol, were popularized by upper-caste Jaat & Jatt Sikhs. Guns have almost become a fashion statement and have become a prestige issue for the high lives in Haryana They are openly displayed in public- especially during marriage ceremonies and other occasions

which has unfortunately led to many accidental deaths as well. For instance, in 2016 Kulvinder Kaur, a 25-year-old pregnant dancer was shot dead due to an accidental firing in Susana town of Sonipat A similar unfortunate incident happened in 2021, when clashes broke out over student council
elections in Jaat college Unfortunately, this situation can become worse if no concrete steps are taken

As per 3rd NSO report 2019-20, Haryana’s unemployment rate is at 7.4% and many experts believe that if this unemployment is not addressed, Haryana’s toxic gun culture will only
get more problematic There is research evidence behind the impact of Haryanvi’s pop culture

Research suggests that a contributing factor behind the use of drugs and aggressiveness
in the Haryana, youth
are Haryanvi songs that talk about drugs, guns and violence. However, it’s not that people haven’t noticed that about Haryana songs

Punjab and Haryana HC in 2019 stated that concrete steps need to be taken in this regard. but unfortunately, not much happened So, what could be the solutions to stop this complex issue?

Sucha Singh Gill suggests that the licenses issued for guns during the last one decade
under the Halqa system have to be reviewed. A screening process has to be carried
out at the district level by a committee to determine whether the gun licenses were
given to party cadres without any need

Second, the Halqa system needs to be stopped.

Unfortunately, the BJP-JJP has given no indication that they would do so The irony is that this situation is about Haryana known for Mahabharat who is against injustice.

But today’s youth is fascinated by guns and violence, Fortunately, many people are striving to work against this gun culture Prof Pandit Rao Dharennavar launched a campaign against gun culture But despite such movements of civil society, the popularity of famous pop singers is not declining.

Possession of a gun does not amount to being a real man, so next time when you hear violent
lyrics in Haryana pop songs – do think about the impact this issue has in Haryana Because it isn’t the responsibility of just the politicians to put an end to this gun culture It is also the responsibility of the fans of pop industry who listen to such songs

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