Chandigarh: A day after being cornered by Congress on the issue of law and order in the Assembly, the state government on Thursday launched a counter-attack on the opposition, claiming Punjab to be the "safest" state in India.

Armed with National Crime Record Bureau data, Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal led the retaliation and launched a scathing attack on the Congress, accusing it of presenting "half truths without any substance" during discussion in the Assembly on law and order.

Citing NCRB figures, Sukhbir said Punjab has recorded a "negative crime rate" in last five years. While Punjab ranks 25th in the comparative record of 28 states as far incident rate of cognizable crime was concerned, Congress-ruled state Kerala, Delhi and Haryana figure in the list of top-10, Badal said.

"On the front of terrorism during last five years, there were only seven causalities in Punjab, whereas in Congress-led Haryana, 68 people lost their lives in bomb blasts, 55 in Andhra Pradesh, 66 in Rajasthan, 32 in Delhi, 107 in Assam and 214 in Maharashtra from 2007 to 2012," Sukhbir, who was winding up the two-day debate on law and order, said.

Describing Leader of Opposition Sunil kumar Jakhar's speech on law and order yesterday as "half truths without any substance", Sukhbir claimed his government not only busted various terrorist modules, it also succeeded in curtailing Maoist activities with the arrest of two hardcore Naxals.

NCRB data show the crime rate in Punjab registered a negative growth of minus 4.8 percent from 2007 to 2011, whereas during Amarinder Singh's regime it registered a startling increase of 18.2 percent, he said. As far as crime against women was concerned, Punjab ranked 19th whereas West Bengal topped the list, followed by Congress-ruled states Andhra Pradesh on number 2, Rajasthan on number 4 and Haryana on number 14, Sukhbir said.

Badal further said that even though Punjab is the state highest density of Scheduled Caste population, only 90 incidents of crime against SCs was recorded in the state in five years against 4,016 incidents in Andhra Pradesh, 7,702 in Uttar Pradesh and 5,182 in Rajasthan.

(Agencies)

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