Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday issued strict directions to the state police and intelligence agencies to go all out to counter the increasing misuse of social media to spread hate campaigns.The Chief Minister also ordered stern steps to break the nexus between terrorists and gangsters, as well as between gangsters and jail staff, to prevent use of prisons by gangsters to carry out their nefarious operations. Taking serious note of reports of some gangsters operating from prisons, as evident from the recovery of mobile phones and sim cards from jails, the Chief Minister also ordered strict monitoring of jails and directed the Home Department to take immediate steps to fill vacancies in the state prisons. There was need to instill in these gangsters a fear of the law to ensure that the state’s peace and harmony is maintained at all costs, he said. These directions came at a high-level meeting, chaired by the Chief Minister, to review the law and order in the state, which was attended by senior police and administrative officials. Punjab Ministers Manpreet Badal, Navjot Sidhu and Tripat Bajwa were also present at the meeting.
Expressing concern over the recent killing of a Hindu Shiv Sena leader in Amritsar, the Chief Minister ordered the police to expedite the investigations in the case, which the security agencies have said was not linked to the spate of the recent targeted killings in the state. The police officials assured Captain Amarinder that the culprits, who had already been identified, would be caught soon.Captain Amarinder also instructed the security agencies to adopt overt and covert measures to effectively counter the online hate campaign by Pakistan’s ISI and the communal tirade being launched by a section of the hardline Hindus against the Sikh community and vice versa.There was a clear bid to revive terrorism in the state, which could be traced to foreign handlers not just in Pakistan but also in other countries such as Canada, Germany, UAE, Belgium, South Africa, Portugal and Saudi Arabia, the Chief Minister was informed at the meeting, which took stock of the steps being taken by the security forces to curb the spread of divisive and communal forces.DGP Suresh Arora revealed that since March this year, seven terror modules had been busted and 43 terrorists/radical operates arrested by the state police. The police had identified 16 foreign handlers affiliated to various militant outfits to be involved in terror operates so far, and as many as 38 weapons, including those pushed into India by Pakistan’s ISI, had been seized.
Though most of the gangsters, who had a free rein of the state under the previous regime, had either fled or were behind bars, investigations showed that some of them were trying to disrupt the law and order either from outside Punjab’s borders or from behind the bars, top police officials told the Chief Minister. Captain Amarinder gave the security forces a free hand to tackle any threat to the state’s peace and harmony, saying no violation of the law would be tolerated. All such attempts should be dealt with an iron hand, the Chief Minister directed the state police, adding that while the law and order situation in Punjab had seen a marked improvement in the past eight months, there was need to tighten the belt further to ensure that people in the state live in an atmosphere of peace, with fear of any kind.Among the top police officials who attended the meeting were DGP Suresh Arora and DGP Intelligence Dinkar Gupta, DGP Law and Order H S Dhillon, DGP Administration M K Tewari, DGP Jails IPS Sahota, ADGP Crime Pramod Kumar, IG Personnel V Neerja, IGP Crime Shashi Prabha, ADGP Chief STF H S Sidhu. Besides Advisor to CM Lt. Gen. (Retd) T S Shergil, Media Advisor to CM Raveen Thukral, CS Karan Avtar Singh, ACS (Home)N S Kalsi, CPS CM Suresh Kumar, PS CM Tejveer Singh were also present in the meeting.