Police officials look for clues at the spot where Gurlal Brar, an aide of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi was shot dead in the early hours of October 11 in Chandigarh.(HT Photo)
Police officials look for clues at the spot where Gurlal Brar, an aide of gangster Lawrence Bishnoi was shot dead in the early hours of October 11 in Chandigarh.(HT Photo)

HT Chandigarh Readers’ Take: Urgent action required to weed out gangsters from Chandigarh

Strict supervision of incarcerated gangsters; disrupting communication channels with their members, intensified border controls to check entry of weapons; improved neighbourhood watch systems; stringent checks before issuing arms licences are among the many steps suggested by readers to control crime
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By HT Correspondent
UPDATED ON OCT 23, 2020 11:37 PM IST

Police have to get organised

The increasing number of crimes shows the law enforcing agencies in poor light. Why is the police force not as well organised as the gangsters are? Why aren’t new technology and innovative methods used to curb crimes? The Chandigarh administration with authorities in Mohali and Panchkula authorities and the law enforcing agencies have to work together to find a way to bring the criminals to book.

Dr Devinder Garg, Chandigarh

Community mobilisation required

There is an urgent need to control and prevent youth gang violence using novel strategies such as community mobilisation, opportunities provision and social intervention. A comprehensive strategy should be developed that extends beyond law enforcement and includes elements to prevent juveniles from joining gangs and efforts to intervene and “rescue” youths who have some experience with gangs. Police agencies must be active in soliciting the support and partnership of other criminal justice agencies, the juvenile justice system, and community organisations. Only through sharing “ownership” of the problem with a broad range of people can police address the gang problem at its roots. Targeted enforcement tactics should be coupled with prevention programmes to keep juveniles off the path of gang membership, intervention to “rescue” those who are already involved, and multilevel partnerships with other government agencies and non-government organisations.

Madhav Bansal, Chandigarh

Plan special training modules

Police personnel require special training to deal with gangs. Strict implementation of the paying guest (PG) system is required as neighbours’ inputs too have to be included with the mandatory verification of tenants. Permissions of the homeowners will be required to allow friends or relatives of the PGs to come and stay with them.

Shokeen Singh Verma

No criminals on campuses

Spoilt brats are the product of shoddy parenting, and when in bad company of like minded youngsters, splinter groups of students in university or college hostels turn to crime. Those with similar political leanings try to form their own fiefdom on campuses instead of concentrating on their studies. Thoughtful parenting is one way to change things. University authorities and hostel wardens should also keep a watchful eye on the suspicious characters and take police help wherever needed.

SC Luthra, Chandigarh

Stricter laws for weapons licences

Arms and ammunition license should be issued only to genuine cases and that too after a thorough background check and psychological tests. Licences of people with crime records should be cancelled. The law enforcing authorities should maintain strict checks on social media accounts and activities of criminals on bail. Pubs, bars, discotheques should not stay open till late hours. Gangster culture thrives on connections with high profiled people and politicians, and the police and higher authorities should keep tabs on such links. The courts should settle such cases as soon as possible and strict laws should be laid down so that criminals are not released on bail.

Abhilasha Gupta, Mohali

Disrupt communication channels

The police and intelligence wing have to disrupt the communication channels and weapons, drug and cash supplies of the gangsters. A thorough probe is required into how these gang leaders are able to pass on orders and instructions to their gang members from behind the bars. The supply line of funds and arms has to be disconnected. A strict case must be made for all social media channels to block accounts linked to criminals, even those run by their followers.

Karan Singh Vinayak, Chandigarh

Weed out corruption from the forces

The Chandigarh administration has to issue an ultimatum to the police force to maintain law and order in the city at any cost. When it comes to law everyone should be treated equally: The rich, poor, politicians and bureaucrats. A first information report ( FIR ) should be filed immediately once a crime is committed. Also, corruption in the police force must be weeded out at any cost as often criminals get away by bribing them. Check barriers should also be set up/ maintained at all city entry points to inspect each vehicle entering Chandigarh for weapons. Patrolling should also be intensified.

Sumesh Kumar Badhwar, Mohali

The message is in the music

What are musicians thinking by releasing Punjabi songs based on guns and gangs? Music is an expressive art form that can bring about positive social change. Most of the releases in Punjabi have references to gang wars and Chandigarh. If the content does not change there’s a chance that young people will be misled into associating a life of crime with glamour. According to research conducted in the past by a professor at the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad, Dr Dheeraj Sharma, on the influence of Punjabi music over youth and propensity to commit violence, 60% of the youth were found to be listening to music glorifying drug use and violence provoking songs and were more prone to committing violence. Singers and writers and the production companies that promote such music should be penalised for this. I also feel that, from the last six years, such music has in some way influenced criminal activities in the city. The youth too seem to be keen to adopt the lifestyles of the gangsters with no fear of the police, Some sort of censorship committee needs to be set up to ban such music.

Simran Sharma

Swachh Bharat should target crime too

The Swachh Bharat campaign should go beyond cleaning of cities, it should also focus on bringing to book criminals, dishonest and corrupt representatives and officials. To curb crimes, policemen need to be given professional training and skill sets to handle law and order, with improved pay packages. They need to be equipped with better, modern and user-friendly equipment, especially bulletproof vests. The police force also requires an image makeover to create a fear psychosis among criminals. The arms licencing department of the tricity also needs to be integrated.

Rajiv Boolchand Jain, Zirakpur

Administration apathy must end

Chandigarh has imported this gun and gang culture from Punjab and it is no secret that these gangsters have state police patronage most of the time. The more frequent such incidents are in any state the more apathetic the administrative machinery is towards such activities.

Rajeev Rai Walia, Chandigarh

Monitor issuance of arms licences

Firstly, issuance of arms licences should be strictly monitored. Entry of weapons into Chandigarh should be checked and for this Central Reserve Police Force or local police teams should be deployed at various entry points to inspect vehicles for any suspected illegal activity. Weapons of owners engaging in violence should be confiscated and they should be punished immediately under the Arms Act.

Priyam Aggarwal, Chandigarh

Understand the root cause of violence

To stop any violence, first analyse its root cause, identify the segment of the population engaged in such violence and focus on skills training and grievance redressal system for groups at risk of taking to a path of crime. Proper parenting can help. Police patrolling can be improved through mobile check posts. Cases of criminal activities should be decided in the court at the earliest to send message to the society that it is not acceptable.

Dev Raj

Ban civilians from carrying firearms

People are becoming less tolerant, so even minor brawls are turning bloody. Licensees with firearms cannot guard these instruments of death round the clock, leading to ease of misuse. Gun culture is antithetical to the ethos of free India’s civil society. Laxity of police action is evident as very few cases involving shoot outs in Chandigarh have been solved. At the moment there is no alternative to curb crimes than to impose a nationwide ban on civilians using firearms.Till then, the intent of carrying a gun or other firearm in public must be thoroughly questioned and illegal weapons confiscated.

Lalit Bharadwaj, Panchkula

Isolate incarcerated gang leaders

The gang culture needs to be eliminated immediately from its roots with the police urgently required to organise itself for the task. Let a deputy superintendent of police level officer be assigned the task with a select team. Work out a plan to finish the gangs and then execute it meticulously. First, identify the base of the gangs (Lawrence Bishnoi, Davinder Bambiha etc) and their prominent leaders. All of them need to be put behind bars and isolated so that they are not able to operate from prisons. Second, monitor the activities of each gang and coordinate intelligence gathering about their operations, nipping their plans before they are able to execute them. People should be incentivised and encouraged to share information about gangsters in their areas. Also, let there be cohesion in the police force, with the SSP in full control. Weed out bad eggs from the force.

Colonel RD Singh (Retd), Ambala Cantonment

Act against gang leaders now

Does it not surprise anybody that most people know about these criminal gangs, their leaders, and their political and police contacts and yet they roam free and commit crimes with impunity? Why can’t these gang leaders/ members be detained under National Security Act and lodged in different jails in the country – outside their state? A strict watch should be kept on them while they are in custody. Family members should be brought on board to bring their wayward wards under control.

Vinay Gupta, Ambala Cantonment

What about rights of citizens?

A policing philosophy based on the need to protect the rights of all citizens is the need of the hour. As in the US, even on a tip off, many crimes were prevented by the police, but this does not happen in Chandigarh. Police have to be focused on providing a service as a means to uphold the law, rather than utilising force to impose the law. At the moment the force remains understaffed, underfunded and – more so – unaccountable. There’s need for better intelligence, administrative action and aggressive intervention by trained police forces with the IT Act used to good effect.

SK Khosla, Chandigarh

Strict eye on gangsters in jail

How are gangsters behind bars operating? The police must answer the question and ensure that such criminal elements are always under strict surveillance. Tricity police should coordinate work to control crimes with special focus on speedy completion of investigations. Advanced weapons should be provided to the police and CCTV cameras installed at vantage points to ascertain the identities of criminals and to nab them.

Saikrit Gulati, Chandigarh

Early intervention a must

We need to ensure that our communities feel a sense of responsibility to address gang violence, which has complex social, political, educational, judicial and economic layers. Those at risk of taking to a life of crime should have access to remedial education, job training and placement, with social Intervention by youth serving agencies, schools and street outreach workers. It is important to reignite a sense of urgency and focus on early preventive intervention and identification of people likely to indulge in such criminal offences to nip the evil in the bud. The UT administration should initiate suppression programmes with the assistance of non-government or other welfare organisations and practice zero tolerance policy to crimes for aggressive law enforcement .

Komal Singh, Chandigarh

Check problems at school level

The government should stop issuing gun licences. Youth join the gangs for protection,enjoyment, a misplaced sense of respect, or because a friend is in a gang. They are at a higher risk of taking to crime if they are aggressive or violent in schools. Special attention should be paid to such students by their teachers and family, even the community they are a part of.

Tapasya choudhary

Social reforms needed

Very basic reason for gang war in the city is that the members want to establish their dominant role. Once that’s done they get political patronage to checkmate their adversaries with their muscle power.The factors attributing to increasing crimes are poverty, family breakdown, failure in education, drug addiction and so on. Therefore, there is a need for the major social reforms in society to prevent youngsters from taking to a path of crime. Law enforcing agencies must ensure deterrent action against the criminals, especially the heads of gangs.

SS Arora, Mohali

Make election rules stricter

It is desirable to impose certain conditions for eligibility in college and university student elections. Those with a dubious record, history of crime or poor academic record should be barred. Indirect election implies that faculty-wise elections be held and the winners be eligible to contest as office-bearers of unions. Campuses should be well guarded with security guards maintaining a register and not letting anyone enter without an ID proof and details of person he or she is visiting. Many of the gangs are affiliated to the bigger gangs who enjoy VIP protection.

Usha Verma, Chandigarh

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