With newly constituted Anti-Gangster Task Force (AGTF) has swung into action, Director General of Police (DGP) Punjab VK Bhawra on Monday gave a clarion call to the people of state to join hands with the Police force against the anti-social elements trying to disrupt the peace and harmony and create a sense of insecurity in the state of Punjab.

AGTF headed by ADGP Promod Ban has been constituted on the directives of Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to intensify action against gangsters using intelligence based inputs and coordinating with field units of Punjab Police. AGTF will work directly under the supervision of DGP Punjab.

Addressing his maiden Press Conference, DGP VK Bhawra said that there have been recent media reports about rise in gangster related murders in the state but the fact is that the trend so far for murders this year has marginally decreased in comparison to last two years.  The DGP was accompanied by ADGP Internal Security RN Dhoke and ADGP Promod Ban, who is the AGTF Head. 

The crime data indicates that 158 murders have taken place in the State this year in almost 100 days making an average of 50 murders per month, while in previous years, the number of murders was 724 and 757 in 2021 and 2020 respectively making the monthly average of murders for 2021 and 2020 was 60 and 65 murders respectively. 

“This is not a happy situation. Punjab Police has been making strenuous efforts to eliminate the gangster culture in the state and will continue to make efforts in this direction,” said the DGP, while soliciting the support and cooperation of the public to further bring down the crime graph.

Divulging more details, DGP VK Bhawra said that taking action against organised gangs and criminals since January 1, 2022, various units of the Punjab Police have busted 16 gangster modules and arrested 98 individuals involved in these activities. A large cache of weapons have been recovered from them which includes four rifles and 68 pistols/revolvers besides impounding 30 vehicles used by these criminals, he added.

He said that six gangster crime related murders witnessed in the state in 2022, all of which have been traced after a thorough investigation on professional lines and a total of 24 accused involved in these cases have been arrested along with a recovery of seven pistols, 18 cartridges and seven vehicles. All these were blind murders in which culprits were not known, he said adding that efforts are on to arrest the remaining accused. 

Apart from these, there were nine non-gangster related murders occurred during the year 2022 causing sensation amongst the general public which have also been traced and most of the accused have been arrested, said the DGP. He said that family/matrimonial dispute, rivalry or monetary dispute etc were among the main reasons behind these crimes. 

Giving instance of the proactive approach and timely intervention by the Punjab Police, the DGP said that, recently, the police has successfully managed to avert at least four serious gangster related crimes including murder of an immigration consultant, killing of a rival gang member, kidnapping of a student (son of a prominent professional) and killing of a businessman.

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The DGP said that the licensed weapons are meant for personal security not for committing crimes or settling personal rivalries. “I urge all the Arms license holders to use their weapons only for their protection,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Punjab Police has been taking effective action against the gangsters operating within the state and in past few years has successfully identified 545 gangsters of A, B & C categories and has already taken effective action against 515 out of these along with recovery of a large number of weapons, vehicles and communication equipment.

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