Chandigarh, Dec 24: The sensational Nabha jailbreak, a spate of attacks on high-profile leaders including a fatal one on RSS's Jagdish Gagneja and gangsters striking at will put a question mark on Punjab Police's functioning in 2016.
While the SAD-BJP government insisted there was "peace and harmony", Opposition parties including Congress were unsparing in their attack against Akalis and claimed "complete breakdown of law and order" in the poll-bound state.
There were several sacrilege incidents in the state. In one such incident which took place at Muslim-dominated Malerkotla town, miscreants resorted to burning of vehicles and damaged property.
But the major embarrassment for Punjab Police came in November when six prisoners including Khalistan Liberation Front chief Harminder Singh Mintoo and five others escaped from the high-security Nabha jail in Patiala after a group of armed men in police fatigue stormed the prison and bolted out with the inmates while firing a hail of bullets.
Though Punjab government dismissed two jail officials and suspended ADGP (prison) besides setting up a special investigation team to nab them, the incident exposed how the state intelligence system was clueless about the brazen attempt by gangsters who stitched up plan in collusion with few jail officials to free dreaded prisoners.
Punjab Police with the help of its Delhi and Uttar Pradesh counterparts managed to nab Mintoo and Palwinder Singh Pinda who allegedly helped in facilitating their escape.
Six prisoners who escaped Nabha jail were Harminder Singh Mintoo, Kashmir Singh, two terrorists, while gangsters were Amandeep Dhothian, Vicky Gounder, Gurpreet Sekhon and Neeta Deol.
Opposition Congress in no-holds-barred attack alleged connivance of the Parkash Singh Badal government in the jailbreak and said the incident exposed a "complete breakdown of law and order" in the state, while triggering fears of revival of terrorism ahead of the Assembly elections.
In the early part of the year, RSS volunteer Naresh Kumar was attacked in Ludhiana. However, nobody was injured. Then came the high-profile murder of 85-year-old Mata Chand Kaur, wife of late chief of the Namdhari sect Satguru Jagjit Singh in April at its international headquarters Bhaini Sahib in Ludhiana.
In the same month, Shiv Sena leader Durga Prasad Gupta was shot dead at Khanna near his office at Lehari road Chowk. In the following month, the cavalcade of Sikh preacher Ranjit Singh Dhadrianwale was attacked by a group of heavily-armed persons near Ludhiana.
Though Dhadrianwale had a miraculous escape his follower Sant Bhupinder Singh Khalsa died in the attack.