Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has given the go-ahead for setting up an Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) to break the nexus flourishing between militants and gangsters in the state’s prisons, an official said on Monday. The Amarinder government, which assumed office last month, is also mulling an effective law, such as the Punjab Control of Organised Criminals Act (PCOCA), to deal effectively with the terror spread by organised criminal gangs, most of which have been allegedly operating in the state for the past 5-7 years with strong political patronage, said an official. A spokesperson in the Chief Minister’s Office said that the ATS would have the mandate to act both against terrorist or militant outfits and criminal gangs.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, whom Amarinder met last week, has agreed to provide two Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) companies to ensure security at the high-security jails where hardcore terrorists and gangsters are lodged.
“These additional companies will remain at the prisons for at least six months,” the spokesperson said.
The state government is also requesting 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.
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Revealing details of the police crackdown on terrorists and gangsters, launched across the state in recent days, the government claims to have arrested 16 dreaded gangsters.
The police crackdown has also led to the busting of two terrorist modules, leading to the arrest of four militants, the spokesperson added.
As of March 15, 2017, there were 22 organized criminal gangs operating in Punjab, with 240 gang members, of which 137 gangsters were lodged in various jails of the state, the spokesperson revealed.