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Punjab rejigs police force as opposition crushes CM Mann’s government over sensational daylight killings

Law and order in Punjab is once again under the scanner after two murders in broad daylight, including that of a Shiv Sena leader. With Prime Minister Bhagwant Mann facing flak over the sensational killings, the state government on Saturday made changes at the highest levels of state police.

One of the most significant transfers is that of Mansa, Police Superintendent Gaurav Toora, who had been heavily criticized in the Sidhu Moose Wala murder case when one of the accused managed to escape with the help of a CIA official. The state government has appointed additional director general of police LK Yadav as the new director of the Bureau of Investigation and has transferred seven SSPs, two inspector generals from Jalandhar and Bathinda, in addition to the police commissioner of Ludhiana.

After the rejig, ADGP Kuldeep Singh is the new head of the special task force on drugs while B Chandershekhar is the new ADGP of prisons. Both posts were vacant after ADGP Harpreet Singh Sidhu was appointed head of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police. The new Ludhiana Police Commissioner is Mandeep Sidhu.

The state government has also replaced law and order IG and brought in GS Dhillon. Toora’s transfer is one of the most important among the SSPs.

Despite the turmoil in the police administration, the opposition found a way to corner the Mann-led AAP government over a spate of targeted killings, which it says violated law and order in the state.

“Daily killings, daylight shooting, Punjab is sadly heading towards total lawlessness and the inexperienced @BhagwantMann-led government has been unable to do anything to stop it all. I strongly urge him to focus on law and order before we approach the dark age of the 1980s,” tweeted the former prime minister and now BJP leader Captain Amarinder Singh.

On Thursday, six men on motorcycles shot dead Dera Sacha Sauda follower Pardeep Singh in Faridkot district. He was an accused in the 2015 Bargari violation cases and was currently out on bail. A security personnel provided by the Punjab Police and a bystander also suffered bullet injuries. This happened just days after Shiv Sena leader Sudhir Suri was shot dead in Amritsar while sitting in a dharna.

Mann’s performance as CM has been closely watched since the AAP took power in Punjab in March. The spotlight was first on him and his government when popular Punjabi singer Sidhu Moose Wala was shot dead after his security cover was revoked in May.

“Law & order in Punjab has virtually collapsed. CM Mann owes an explanation for how long people will have to live in the shadow of constant fear and insecurity while mobsters rule. Sidhu Moosewala’s parents, NRIs and now kinnow growers don’t want to stay in Punjab. Who’s next?” tweeted opposition leader Partap Singh Bajwa.

“The AAP has made Punjab the terrorism capital of India,” said BJP leader Tarun Chugh.

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