Explained: What is Punjab's anti-gangster task force? What we know, so far
In a major step to improve the law and order situation in Punjab, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann on Tuesday announced that the government is setting up a new task force to eliminate the networks of gangsters across the state.
The anti-gangster task force (AGTF) will be headed by a police officer of additional director-general rank, the CM said.
So, what exactly is AGTF?
It is a squad which is being formed to eradicate organised crime in the state. According to an official release, the Punjab government will provide requisite manpower, latest equipment and information technology, besides adequate funds "to break the unholy nexus which has already spread its wings in the drug trade and Kabaddi world".
The anti-gangster task force will have an integrated collection of intelligence, manning and execution of operations, registrations of FIRs, investigation and prosecution on the lines of similar specialised units in the country.
New police stations with state-wide jurisdiction over organised crime would be soon notified with the sole motive of allaying the fear among the public about the terror unleashed by the gangsters, Mann said at the press meet.
Will it lessen the responsibility and role of the Commissioner of Police?
The Punjab Chief Minister in the latest statement said that the AGTF will not reduce or lessen the role and responsibility of the Commissioner of Police.
"I wish to make it absolutely clear that the constitution of the AGTF in now way would reduce/lessen the responsibility and role of Commissioner of Police and Senior Superintendents of Police heading the Police Commissionerates and districts, as the CPs and SSPs are responsible for the control of crime and maintenance of law & order in their jurisdictions. I would personally hold you responsible for any breach of law and order in your jurisdiction as you are accountable under law," the statement said.
While the AGTF would focus on the intelligence-based operation and play a coordinating role, the CPs, and SSPs will have to launch major thrust against gangsters by briefing the police officers under them, conducting analysis of crime data, identifying absconding gangsters and conducting anti-gangster operations, CM said.
Crime Rate in NDPS Act Cases in Punjab
In 2020, Punjab took the top place in the country with a 22.9% crime rate (per lakh population) in cases registered under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.
Out of 6,909 cases registered across Punjab, 4,039 were for possession of drugs for trafficking and 2,870 for possession of drugs for personal consumption, according to 'Crime in India 2020,' released by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).