Monday, March 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

ADGP orders recall of gunmen
Politicians angry at move
Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 10
Policemen attached as gunmen with several politicians and former legislators at the expense of routine policing work have finally been recalled. The significant orders may go a long way in ending the gunmen menace in the state.

Following the orders by the ADGP (Security), the SSPs of all police districts in the state are learnt to have initiated the process of recalling the gunmen. In Ludhiana alone 100 such gunmen have reported for duty in various police stations. Police sources said the orders were long required, but could not be issued due to political pressure.

The issuance of the orders has been felicitated by a writ petition filed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court by Dr Taran Singh. The High Court had given a notice to the Punjab Police, seeking a reply to the petition which questioned the rules under which so many gunmen had been provided to politicians.

According to the orders, an MLA will be entitled to three gunmen, while former MLAs would get two gunmen each. District-level political leaders do not qualify for any gunman and all have been ordered to send back their gunmen.

Police sources said having gunmen had become a status symbol with politicians and many had more than 10 gunmen with them. A former Akali minister had as many as 16 gunmen at his disposal.

The gunmen had, in fact, become a menace for the public with incidents of harassment of public at their hands being reported every now and then. The gunmen were also encroaching upon public or government property near the politicians’ houses. While the masses may heave a sigh of relief, the politicians are angry and are in a mood to fight the orders at various platforms. Mr Avtar Singh Makkar, senior Akali leader and a contestant from Ludhiana (West) on the SAD ticket, said he had been attacked by political rivals in the recent past and was under threat. But his gunmen had been recalled.Back

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