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Punjab Govt Recommends Death Penalty for Drug Smuggling, Peddling

The proposal to award capital punishment to drug smugglers in Punjab has been sent to the Centre for approval. We will not spare anyone if found guilty, be it an ordinary man or an officer, said Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa.

Anuradha Shukla | News18

Updated:July 2, 2018, 6:20 PM IST
Chandigarh: The Punjab government on Monday recommended death penalty for drug peddling and smuggling in the state. The decision was taken at a special meeting of the state Cabinet held in Chandigarh.

Taking to Twitter, Captain Amarinder Singh said that the recommendation is being forwarded to the Union government for approval.

He tweeted: “Since drug peddling is destroying entire generations, it deserves exemplary punishment. I stand by my commitment for a drug-free Punjab.”

Another meeting was held with police officials before the Cabinet discussion over the drug menace in Punjab.

Giving details about the meeting, Cabinet Minister Tript Rajinder Bajwa said, “The proposal to award capital punishment to drug smugglers is being sent to the Centre for approval. We will not spare anyone who is found guilty, be it an ordinary man or an officer. Parents also need to keep an eye on their children to see if they are getting involved with drugs in any way. Youngsters are even eating lizards and Iodex these days.”

Speaking about the recent allegation on Punjab police officers for allegedly getting women hooked to drugs, he added, “The police officers accused of forcing some women to become drug addicts will be dismissed from services. These allegations are being probed and action will be taken soon.”

Reacting on the decision, former Punjab DGP, Shashi Kant, a crusader against illegal drug trade in Punjab, said, "On the face of it, the decision by the Punjab Cabinet seems good but if you analyse the issue, it is just pushing the ball into the court of the Union government. The Centre can only change the law, but it will have to do so for the entire nation not just Punjab. The existing laws are adequate. Now the blame game will start between the Centre and the state government that they are not doing enough. This decision is just pushing the issue under the carpet. The drug lords need to be arrested not the peddlers who are arrested in hundreds. These figures are just for the consumption of the court.​”

The Cabinet also decided to constitute a Special Working Group under the chairmanship of ACS (Home) NS Kalsi to review and monitor, on a day-to-day basis, the action being taken to check and control drug abuse.

A cabinet sub-committee has been formed under the chairmanship of the chief minister, with the Special Working Group mandated to report directly to it. The Health and Family Welfare Minister and The Social Security Minister have been appointed members of the sub-committee, which will meet once a week to take stock of the situation and review the progress of the anti-drug campaign of the government, the spokesperson disclosed.

Before the meeting started, all members of the Cabinet stood in silence as a mark of respect to the Sikhs killed in the Afghanistan suicide attack, as well as the youth who have died due to drug overdose and the farmers who have committed suicide in the state.

The Cabinet took stock of the cases of deaths resulting from drug overdose, which STF chief HS Sidhu admitted to be a matter of concern. Sidhu suggested registration of all such cases to enable the identification and mitigation of risk factors, such as supply of spurious drugs and mixing of drugs with other death-causing substances. He called for thorough investigation of all such cases, while assuring the chief minister of his team’s concerted and enhanced efforts to fight the drug menace in a more aggressive manner.

Citing data relating to arrests and seizures under the NDPS Act, DGP Suresh Arora pointed out that there had been a sharp increase in the figures since the Captain Amarinder government took over. Seizure of heroin had then gradually declined over a period of time, underling the effectiveness of the action undertaken by police, STF and various central agencies, along with additional BSF deployment and upgradation of surveillance technology & other infrastructure at the border, he said. It was possible that the resultant shortage of drugs was forcing addicts to resort to consumption of adulterated drugs, which could be leading to deaths, he said, adding that the cause of death in such cases would, however, be established by the report of the chemical examiner.

| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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