Punjab has turned into a gangland. The state's gangsters, as per a recent Indian Army intelligence report, do not fear police.
A week after gangster Rocky was killed by a rival gang in Parwanoo, Himachal Pradesh, another gangster, Deva alias Happy, was shot dead, this time in Punjab's Faridkot.
Ten days later, on May 18, six members of the Kesri Malli Gang freed dreaded gangster Dilpreet Singh from "police custody" when the cops and the gangsters were having lunch together. The gangsters also snatched an AK-47 rifle from one of the cops.
Gang wars are not a new thing in Punjab. Earlier, in January 2015, gangster Sukha Kahlwan was shot dead by the rival gang near Goraya, Jalandhar. Interestingly, six armed Punjab police cops did not fire a single shot in retaliation.
Gangsters rule the roost in Punjab. According to Suresh Arora, DGP Punjab, 57 criminal gangs are active in the state and a special task force (STF) has been created by the police to counter these gangs.
"Only ten gangsters were convicted out of 105 who were arrested between 1996 and 2016. As the witnesses turn hostile, the trials end in acquittal. As many as 37 gangsters managed to escape from police custody between January 2015 to March 2016. Eight have jumped bail," Suresh Arora said.
Punjab Police claims to have strengthened the state's jails by installing mobile jammers to prevent the usage of mobile phones and internet by the inmates, and deploying sniffer dogs to detect drugs. The state police intends to spend Rs 15 crore installing CCTV cameras in jails.
|Captain Amarinder Singh. (PTI)
Swapan Sharma, senior superintendent of police Bathinda confirmed on April 30 that notorious gangsters have been using the internet, and have been running extortion rackets from jails. "We have reports that gangsters have been using Facebook from jail, besides indulging in extortions," said Sharma.
The Indian Army's military intelligence (MI) is also aware about the threat being posed by the jailed gangsters in the state. MI unit, in a letter written to Punjab Police, has said that Punjab's gangsters who are operating from jails do not fear the police and could pose a serious threat to the nation's security.
"It has come to our notice that gangster Chandan alias Chandu, a resident of Basti Tamkan Wali, Ferozepur, runs criminal activities from inside the jail. His associate Atul Singla alias Aloo is engaged in the allotment of extortion money from contractors at military stations, and delivers it to the family of Chandu or to people as directed by him," the letter noted.
Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee president, Captain Amarinder Singh has expressed grave concern over the deteriorating law and order situation and alarming rise in "organised" crime in Punjab, warning that the state was on the brink of "jungle raj".
"Organised crime is not only getting institutionalised but also glamourised in Punjab. And that is the worst thing that can happen to a state", he warned in a statement.
The former chief minister said that people were feeling insecure as criminal gangs had lost the fear of law. He referred to the kidnapping of a school girl in Patiala where the parents had to pay a huge ransom to secure her safe release.
However, he added, not everybody was lucky to return home safe and alive, as there were other victims who lost their lives, like a young boy in Kapurthala whose parents could not pay the ransom and police failed to act on time.
"It is primarily because the Akalis have totally subjugated and subverted the system of policing in Punjab that the killings and kidnappings by the organised gangs have become a routine affair," said Capt Amarinder.
The party in opposition, Aam Aadmi Party, also slammed the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal. They accused the ruling party of providing security to the murdered gangster Jaswinder Singh Rocky.
AAP spokesperson Himmat Singh Shergill accused chief minister Parkash Singh Badal of sheltering gangsters and said that the SAD openly uses gangsters to influence voters in the elections.
"It is shameful that Rocky, who was facing 17 criminal charges, was provided police security. The gangsters are being sheltered by the ruling SAD and are being provided internet and mobile phones even inside high security jails. This is deplorable," Shergill said.
(Courtesy of Mail Today.)