98 held, 97 FIRs lodged as Punjab cops seize narcotics, arms
The police recovered 1 kg heroin, Rs 10.91 lakh in cash, 158 litres of illicit liquor, 660 kg ‘lahan’, 103 kg poppy husk, 19 kg ‘bhang’ and 10,460 intoxicant tablets
The Punjab Police Tuesday apprehended 98 people, including three proclaimed offenders, and recovered narcotics and weapons during a five-hour statewide cordon-and-search operation aimed at checking the movement of anti-social elements and drug smugglers. The police also lodged 97 FIRs during the operation, which was conducted simultaneously from 11 am to 4 pm. Over 12,000 personnel under the supervision of additional director general (ADG), inspector general and district police chiefs took part in the operation.
The police recovered 1 kg heroin, Rs 10.91 lakh in cash, 158 litres of illicit liquor, 660 kg ‘lahan’, 103 kg poppy husk, 19 kg ‘bhang’ and 10,460 intoxicant tablets. They also seized two pistols, a rifle and a gun along with ammunition and 30 motorcycles. Sniffer dogs and drones were also deputed in hotspots to ensure strict vigil.
Frisking of suspects and complete search of houses were done under the supervision of senior officers, said Director General of Police (DGP) Gaurav Yadav, who led the operation in Ludhiana.
Yadav was joined by ADGP (Community Affairs Division and Women Affairs) Gurpreet Kaur and Commissioner of Police, Ludhiana, Mandeep Singh Sidhu. “The idea behind conducting the state-level cordon-and-search operation was to boost public confidence and increase the presence of cops to instil fear in anti-social elements,” Yadav told reporters.
The DGP also said peace and harmony would be maintained in the state. He said the operation was conducted after the identification of drug and crime hotspots by district police forces through data analysis.
Asked about the state government’s recent move to review arms licences, Yadav said a drive to verify the licences would be started in coordination with deputy commissioners. “Physical verification of all arms licences issued till now will be done,” he said. No new licence would be issued till the physical verification of the previous ones is completed in the next three months, he said.
Yadav said the state government had banned the display of weapons in public, including on social media, and action would be taken if anyone violated the order. He added that it had been seen that in 60 per cent of crimes, licenced weapons were used. “We will extensively check gun houses; a large number of ammunition is diverted. We will check gun houses and their stock,” he said.
Replying to another question, Yadav said action would be taken against anyone making hate speech against any community. He pointed out that the cyber wing of Punjab Police would keep a watch on social media to check violations. “FIRs will be registered immediately in case anyone is found making hate speech against any community,” he said, adding that no one would be allowed to take the law into their hands.
In Ludhiana, the operation was carried out in areas such as Ghorha Colony, Ambedkar Colony, Moti Nagar and Peeru Banda and four suspects were rounded up. The search in Ghorha Colony also led to the recovery of 12 gm of heroin, the police said.
In Mohali, the police rounded up 71 suspects. On Sunday, the AAP government in Punjab banned the public display of firearms and songs promoting gun culture and violence. It also ordered a review of arms licences within the next three months.
The Bhagwant Mann government has been under fire from opposition parties for the alleged deteriorating law and order situation in the state.
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