In Punjab, civil society keen on making it a drug-free election

Beyond political rhetorics and sloganeering, Punjab is witnessing a serious resolve by civil society to check drug-use during the forthcoming Assembly elections.

Last week, the Punjab Police confiscated 5 kg of high quality heroine from a father-son duo, both natives of Jammu, at a check post in the border district of Ferozpur in Punjab. Their interrogation led to more arrests on Thursday and information on successful attempts of drug paddling in the past.

Besides heroine, over 1,000  kg of poppy husk has been confiscated and there are rising fears of drugs driving the elections as poll day draws near.

The drug-free initiative by the civil society sans controversies may not have the proportion like the Anna Hazare anti-graft campaign, yet it is potent enough to impact several minds hooked to drugs.

On Friday, hundreds of people led by Supreme Court Advocate H S Phoolka in the holy city of Amritsar, joined hands to begin the seven-day anti-drug campaign.

Among the supporters were about 250 children. The intent was to strike a chord with the masses to deplore drug use and party candidates who encourage such tendencies.

The rally started from Maqbool Pura in Amritsar, an area believed to be highly gripped to drugs.  Phoolka also warned candidates and political parties against giving drugs or alcohol to voters. “The members of the society will cover all parts of Punjab to expose the candidates using drugs to lure voters,” Phoolka said.

Gurdaspur resident Balwainder Kaur said she lost her husband to drugs and was here to make sure a beginning is made to shun the menace.   

Recently, a delegation of prominent people including journalist Kuldeep Nayar, retired Justice Rajinder Sachar, H S Phoolka and Bachpan Bachao Andolan general secretary Bhuvan Ribhu met Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi to highlight concern over use of drugs in Punjab during election.

The CEC took a serious view of the issue and the poll panel too seems perplexed on availability and use of drugs which is believed to be coming from Pakistan. Qurashi had earlier said that while there have been complaints of parties distributing liquor in other states, the “use of drugs was unique to Punjab”.

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