Pratap Singh Bajwa proposes death penalty for drug smugglers
Punjab Congress president Pratap Singh Bajwa Sunday said that he would bring in a legislation proposing death penalty for those indulging in drugs trade.
Bajwa, a sitting Congress MP from Gurdaspur Lok Sabha seat and the party's candidate against BJP's Vinod Khanna this time, said that if he got re-elected, he would move a private member's bill proposing death penalty for the drug dealers, smugglers and their political patrons.
Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal and opposition Congress leaders have openly accused each other in recent months of being involved in the multi-million dollar drugs racket in Punjab. Research in recent years has shown that a substantial population in Punjab, especially among youth, were indulging in drugs consumption and were addicted.
Bajwa, who has himself been accused by the Akali Dal leadership for allegedly being involved with the drugs mafia, said that political patronage to the drug smuggling racket by certain Akali Dal leaders was "too well known and corroborated" in Punjab.
"The country would have to adopt the policy of zero tolerance to drugs and this could be done only by proposing strong steps on the pattern of Singapore and Dubai," Bajwa said in a statement here.
The Punjab Police had, last year, busted an international synthetic drugs racket worth over Rs. 6,000 crore in the state.
However, Akali Dal leaders blame Punjab's drug addiction on the central government saying that the international border with Pakistan was not being properly secured by the Border Security Force (BSF), which is under its command.
The BSF had recovered over 322 kg heroin last year worth Rs.1,610 crore. In the first four months of this year alone, the BSF has recovered nearly 243 kg heroin worth Rs.1,215 crore along the 553-km long India-Pakistan international border in Punjab.
"Gujarat too is a border state which Mr. Modi has been ruling since 2002. So is the case with Rajasthan. However, the magnitude with which drug addiction has hit Punjab is not the case with these two states.
"Both Mr. Modi and Mr. Badal are trying to shift the blame on the centre by talking of sealing the border. The synthetic drugs which are found in every nook and corner of Punjab are being manufactured in the state itself and not being smuggled from across the border," Bajwa pointed out.
"Revenue Minister Mr. Bikram Singh Majithia has been named by former cop Jagdish Bhola in the Rs.6,000 crore synthetic drug racket operating from the soil of Punjab. What stops Mr. Badal from handing over the investigation in this case to the CBI," he asked.
Bajwa alleged that the name of Majithia, brother-in-law of Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal, had figured in recent disclosures on the drugs racket along with names of Akali ministers and their family members and associates.
(Posted on 28-04-2014)