Punjab Chief Minister Approves Setting Up Of Anti-Terror Squad

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Punjab Chief Minister Approves Setting Up Of Anti-Terror Squad

As of March 15, there were 22 criminal gangs in Punjab with 240 gang members


Chandigarh:  Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today approved the setting up of an Anti-Terror Squad (ATS), as part of the Intelligence Wing, to break the nexus between militants and gangsters in the state's prisons.

The government is also mulling an effective law such as the Punjab Control of Organised Criminals Act (PCOCA) to deal with the terror spread by organised criminal gangs, an official spokesman said.

These criminal gangs have been operating in the state for the past 5-7 years with strong political patronage, he said.

"The ATS would have the mandate to act both against terrorist/militant outfits and criminal gangs," he said.

In addition, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, on a request from the chief minister, has already agreed, tentatively, to provide two CISF companies in exchange of the same number of IRB companies from Punjab to ensure security at the high-security/sensitive jails where terrorists and gangsters are lodged.

These additional companies will remain in the prisons for at least six months, the spokesman said.

Besides, the state government has also requested the judiciary to notify trial courts in jails to avoid frequent movement of members of top criminal gang who are being targeted to settle inter-gang feuds and rivalries, he said.

On the police crackdown on terrorists and gangsters launched across the state on the directives of the chief minister, the spokesman said since March 16, when the Amarinder Singh government took over, as many as 16 dreaded gangsters had been arrested.

Amarinder Singh had issued strict directions to the police and intelligence agencies to come down heavily on all criminal gangs in the state, he said.

As of March 15, there were 22 organised criminal gangs operating in Punjab with 240 gang members, of which 137 gangsters were lodged in various jails of the state, the spokesman said.

These criminal gangs, many of which are patronised by political leadership, have been involved in inter-gang rivalry killings, contract killings, extortion from real estate developers/builders, drug smugglers/traders, bookies/sattahawala dealers/liquor contractors/singers, land-grabbing, kidnapping for ransom and other serious crimes, including drug/arms smuggling.
 


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