Punjab CM announces anti-gangster task force

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday directed director general of police VK Bhawra to establish a full-fledged anti-gangster task force
Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann chairs a high-level meeting of the police department in Chandigarh on Tuesday. (ANI)
Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann chairs a high-level meeting of the police department in Chandigarh on Tuesday. (ANI)
Published on Apr 06, 2022 12:14 AM IST
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By, Chandigarh

Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday directed director general of police VK Bhawra to establish a full-fledged anti-gangster task force (AGTF).

The task force, to be headed by an additional director general of police (ADGP)-rank officer, is being set up in a bid to wipe out gangster’s network operating across the state and to create a sense of security among citizens.

The chief minister (CM) announced this while chairing a high-level meeting of the police department. He emphasised the need to eradicate organised crime, adding that ensuring law and order in the state is the foremost priority in order to restore people’s confidence in the police machinery.

Mann also assured the department of all requisite manpower, latest equipment and information technology besides adequate funds to “break this unholy nexus which has already spread its wings in drug trade and kabaddi world”.

Police stations with statewide jurisdiction

The CM said the AGTF will have integrated collection of intelligence, manning and execution of operations, registrations of FIRs, investigation and prosecution on the lines of similar such specialised units in the country.

Directing commissioners and senior superintendent of police to make coordinated efforts against organised crimes, Mann said that new police stations with statewide jurisdiction over organised crime will be notified soon with the sole motive to allay fear from the minds of the general public about the terror unleashed by gangsters.

Mann categorically said that he has already instructed the jail department to keep a strict vigil over the activities of gangsters who are lodged in various jails in the state, and “no laxity will be tolerated” in this regard.

Sharing his personal experience to bring down crime rate drastically in Sangrur district, Mann said that as the MP he took an initiative to install CCTV cameras connected with the local police stations in all major towns of the district using his discretionary funds.

“High-resolution cameras were installed under this project at a nominal cost, which enabled round-the-clock surveillance and instilled a feeling of security among the general public,” he said.

The CM also asked all police officers posted in the field as well as at headquarters to maintain punctuality and discipline so as to win over the trust and confidence of people. He said these qualities would ultimately help the police force to improve its image.

Earlier, welcoming the CM, DGP Bhawra assured him that the entire police force would perform its duties with utmost dedication, honesty, sincerity and professional commitment to live up to the expectations of the general public.

Will not misuse it for political vendetta: AAP

Meanwhile, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) said the aim of the task force is to improve law and order in the state. Party spokespersons Malwinder Singh Kang and Sunny Singh Ahluwalia said the task force will root out organised crime and create fear among criminals.

Kang said that the state government will not misuse it for political vendetta. “No false or bogus cases will be registered to intimidate anyone. Previous governments used to intimidate and harass innocent people by registering false cases to suppress the voice of protest,” he said.

Old wine in new bottle: Pargat

However, the announcement has raised questions, as the Punjab Police already have an Organised Crime Control Unit (OCCU) that separately deals with gangsters and had successfully conducted various special operations in the past.

Congress MLA Pargat Singh called the new task force “old wine in new bottle”. Singh said the state already has a special task force (STF) to fight against organised crime.

“@Bhagwantmann by instituting an anti-gangster task force is just putting old wine in new bottle. To fight against organised crime, Punjab has an STF which was renamed OCCU in 2017. We have teams, what we need is political will. Is @AamAadmiParty up to it?” he shared on Twitter.

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