Hours after a horrifying incident involving the murder of a man and the alleged gang-rape of four women of his family on a highway in Uttar Pradesh emerged, a
minister controversially implied that it is impossible to ensure zero crime "in such a big state".

Suresh Khanna, the Urban Development Minister in Yogi Adityanath's government, assured tough action against those behind the family's horror on the road to
Bulandhshahr on Thursday morning. But his other comment that has raised eyebrows.

"Itna bada pradesh hai, humne zero crime ki baat kabhi nahi ki (it is such a big state, we never promised zero crime)," Mr Khanna said, confronting questions about
the incident that marks the new BJP government's first big challenge in maintaining law and order.

Mr Khanna continued, "But the government wants to punish criminals without exception. Any criminal, no matter how big, will face action under law."

The 64-year-old is one of the senior most ministers in the state and was even counted among Chief Ministerial probables before the party picked the saffron-
robed priest politician Yogi Adityanath.

The murder-gang-rape on the highway has revived questions about lawlessness and poor policing in Uttar Pradesh - a big issue in the recent state elections.