Friday, 6 June 2003  
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Political consensus for crackdown on crime

All party leaders on Wednesday agreed to set up a special Parliamentary Committee to work out means and measures to curb organised crime and underworld activities.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe met the party leaders in Parliament who underlined the necessity of taking stern actions to curb underworld activities and organised crimes pointing to the rising wave of contract killings, drug trafficking and armed robberies. They agreed with Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's suggestion to set up a committee comprising representatives of all the parties in Parliament.

The Prime Minister will meet President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga after the Tokyo donor conference to seek her views on the proposed committee.

Interior Minister John Amaratunga has also expressed concern over serious crimes that have been committed during the past few months and urged tough action against the culprits.

The latest move came following the IGP T.E. Anandarajah's directive to establish a 'Special Striking Force' that will also include the Special Task Force (STF) to combat crime, especially underworld activity and gun running. The IGP had directed his DIGs to forward progress reports to him every fortnight on their investigations.

The special unit will also prepare a comprehensive report on underworld characters and hard drug traffickers under detention orders.

Elite STF commandos who now specialises in VIP protection and security activities in the East have been trained for a wide variety of roles which include anti-crime operations. The special unit which will compile dossiers on underworld activists and hard drug traffickers will also investigate their links with crime mafias abroad.

The special unit is empowered to question any person irrespective of his/her social or political status.

The public can divulge any information regarding criminal activity to the Special Striking Force on telephone numbers - 441147, 588083, 384099, 431346, 327227 and 542515. All information will be kept strictly confidential.

Police have identified nearly 30 underworld gangs involved in ruthless and vicious crimes during the past few months in the Western Province alone. Underworld gangs have been involved in a lot of murders in the province from January to March 2003.

There has also been several instances of gang warfare, which claimed a number of lives.

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