Punjab

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH, CAPT AMARINDER WARNS DRUG SMUGGLERS, ORDER PROBE OF ALL CASES, AAP DELEGATION MEETS CM

July 03, 2018 08:17 PM

Chandigarh (Face2News-JS Kaler)

Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday issued a stern warning to drug smugglers and drug peddlers against continuing to destroy the state, asking them to give up their activities or face stringent consequences. 

 
 
His government would change the law to tackle the menace, besides recommending to the Union Government death penalty for offenders, the Chief Minister tweeted in a video recording. 

ASSURES STRICT ACTION AGAINST GUILTY IRRESPECTIVE OF POLITICAL AFFILIATION*CALLS FOR MAKING DRUG AWARENESS CAMPAIGN A PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT*BUT RULES OUT INQUIRY INTO ALLEGATIONS AGAINST DGP & DGP INTELLIGENCE OF SHIELDING EX-SSP

“They have done enough damage to Punjab, and I want to make it clear that we will not allow this to continue,” the Chief Minister asserted, adding that his government would take the strictest possible action against offenders. 

Pointing to the spate of drug-related deaths in the state, the Chief Minister said the last few days had witnessed a lot of furore over drugs and his government had decided to come down on drug smugglers with an iron hand. 

Several important decisions had been taken by the government in the last couple of days, he said, adding that as long as he was there, he would ensure that the drug problem comes to an end. 

Referring to the victims of drug abuse, the Chief Minister said he had directed Health Minister Bram Mohindra to coordinate with both public and private hospitals to ensure that proper treatment is provided to them.

 PUNJAB CM ORDERS PROBE INTO ALL RECENT DRUG-RELATED DEATHS 

A day after his cabinet resolved to recommend death penalty to the Union Government for drug smugglers and peddlers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ordered investigation into the recent spate of drug-related deaths followed by stringent action against those found guilty, without consideration to their political affiliations. 

Describing drug abuse as a disease requiring treatment, the Chief Minister stressed on the need for rehabilitation of the victims and for making the anti-drug campaign a people’s movement. Pointing out that enforcement was different from creating awareness, he said the latter could not be done by a single agency but had to be a collective effort involving the people. 

The Chief Minister was interacting with a group of social activists, who called on him at his official residence to discuss the problem. The activists, including a former victim, had recently launched ‘Black Week against Drugs’ on the social media to create awareness about the problem. 

The group comprised Dr. Bhupinder Singh, Hakam Singh, Baltej Pannu and Baljinder Singh (Mintoo), a reformed drug addict. 

They welcomed the stern steps taken by the Captain Amarinder Singh government, which they said had brought about a perceptible change in the public mood and perception about the issue. 

The Chief Minister said he would hold a meeting at 3 p.m every Monday to review the progress of the fight against drug menace. 

The activists squarely blamed the Akalis, who they said did nothing to channelize the energy of the youth. They said that the erstwhile Akali government had pulled money out of Sports and other activities that could engage youth, thus letting them be pulled into drugs.Captain Amarinder Singh promised all cooperation to the activists in creating awareness against drugs and suggested that they organize rallies and candle marches in villages, in coordination with Anti Drug Abuse Prevention Officers Program already launched by the government. DCs and SSPs should participate in such events, he added.

Thanking the Chief Minister for his time, which they said showed his intent and seriousness on the issue, the activists suggested formation of committees, consisting of 10-15 youth each, in villages to identify drug addicts. Private hospitals should be asked to provide treatment to drug addicts, they suggested, in response to which the Chief Minister asked Health Minister Brahm Mohindra to talk to private hospitals for reservation of some beds for addicts. 

They expressed concern over the ‘deep nexus’ between drug dealers and police personnel, especially at the SI and ASI levels. People were afraid to identify such cops, they said, urging strong steps to build confidence among the citizens. 

The activists suggested steps to ease out traditional intoxicants such as “Bhukki and Afeem”, besides medical examination of all addicts. A helpline should be introduced for drug addicts, they added. They also suggested that a lady officer be deputed in the STF to help weaning women away from drugs. 

Mintoo, a reformed drug addict, who said he had got into drugs on his own, revealed that he had been weaned out of drugs with the help of substitutes. 

Prominent amongst others who attended meeting included Health & Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra, Media Advisor to Chief Raveen Thukral, Chief Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Suresh Kumar and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Tejveer Singh. 

CM MEETS AAP DELEGATION OVER DRUGS ISSUE, SAYS HE HAS SOUGHT REPORT ON CHARGES AGAINST NEW MOGA SSP: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday said he had sought a report on the allegations of involvement in drugs against the new Moga SSP, but ruled out an inquiry against the state Director General of Police (DGP) and DGP (Intelligence) over allegations of shielding the former SSP Raj Jit Singh. 

The Chief Minister made these statements in response to concerns expressed by an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) delegation which met him here to discuss the drugs menace in the state, particularly in the context of the recent spate of drug-related deaths. 

Sharing the Opposition party’s concern over the problem, the Chief Minister said three big drug dealers who had fled India had been identified, and the police and other agencies were in pursuit of them. Assuring the AAP delegation that no laxity would be tolerated in curbing the drugs menace, the Chief Minister said strict action would be taken against anyone found involved in the drugs trade. 

The Chief Minister briefed the AAP leaders about the Working Group formed by the Cabinet to monitor the action taken against drugs and also informed them about his decision to personally review the progress every Monday. Two CISF companies have been deployed in jails for frisking and security duties to check smuggling of drugs and weapons into the prisons, he further told the delegation. 

On the Cabinet’s resolution on death sentence for drug peddlers and smugglers, the Chief Minister said his government wanted death penalty in the first instance of an offence itself, as against the current provision of death sentence for repeated offence. 

The 12-member delegation demanded a court-monitored CBI inquiry and action on the STF report, to which the Chief Minister pointed out that the matter was before the court, which was already monitoring the action. In any case, several central agencies, including ED, had been involved in the investigations, said Captain Amarinder Singh. 

On the demand for inquiry into allegations against DGP Suresh Arora and DGP (Intelligence) Dinkar Gupta, the Chief Minister described them as upright officers in whose honesty he had full faith. 

The Chief Minister welcomed AAP’s assurance of full cooperation to his government in fighting the drug menace. He also assured protection for whistle-blowers and said the helpline for inviting information and feedback would be started soon. 

The AAP leaders, who demanded a special Assembly session to discuss the issue, expressed concern over the easy availability of drugs in certain areas, as well as reports of sharing of drug money with police.  

Describing the drugs menace as a social challenge, which started a decade ago due to large-scale unemployment and agrarian crisis, Leader of Opposition Sukhpal Singh Khaira said Captain Amarinder Singh and his government were not solely to blame for the situation. 

No chief minister would ever want drugs becoming an issue for his regime, said Khaira, while welcoming the dismissal of the two police men accused of dragging women into drug abuse and peddling. While the STF had succeeded in building pressure the problem had assumed serious proportions, with police reportedly exploiting those who can pay and catching small-time peddlers, he added. Khaira expressed concern over the fact that not only were women being pulled into drug abuse but were also being turned into couriers. 

On the issue of drug-related deaths, the delegation said they suspected intravenous injection of some concoctions by the addicts. Sangrur MP Bhagwant Mann said the addicts could go to any extent to curb withdrawal symptoms. He was of the view that the Panches and Sarpanches in villages and Municipal Councillors in urban areas should be motivated to identify the drug addicts and those supplying drugs to innocent youth. 

Besides Khaira and Mann, the delegation comprised AAP Punjab co-president Dr. Balbir Singh, and nine party MLAs. 

Dr. Balbir Singh said that there was a dire need for surveillance of the activities of doctors treating the drug addicts, especially of private de-addiction centres, who were selling drugs under the guise of treating them. 

Health Minister Brahm Mahindra stressed the need for motivating youth to combat the menace and create awareness. 

The meeting was also attended by Chief Minister’s Media Advisor Raveen Thukral, Chief Principal Secretary Suresh Kumar and Political Secretary Sandeep Sandhu.

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