Thursday, November 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi



Police helpless as drugs claim young lives

The report “50 drug addicts die in 2 years” (Oct 25) concerns Chheharta and says: “The town is worse than Maqboolpura, a suburb of Amritsar known as a ‘locality of widows’ due to the death of a number of bread winners in a period of five years.”

The position in Chheharta as described in the report is despite the campaign against drug addiction by various organisations. The Istri Sabha once ran a campaign on a big scale in cooperation with the then Deputy Commissioner and his wife as well as the AITUC.

Once I discussed the matter with the SSP, Amritsar. I told him that a majority of chemists were selling the deadly drugs. I strongly protested against the police inaction. I was told that the police can raid chemists only if accompanied by a Drug Inspector, that there was only one Drug Inspector in Amritsar district and that the police was, therefore, helpless. Even then the SSP told me that he would ask the SP(H) to do whatever is possible.

I spoke to the SP(H). He said he would try to catch drugs while being taken to shops as that could be done without the presence of a Drug Inspector. However, nothing happened. I reminded him. He replied: “Where is the time? Amritsar is the political capital of Punjab. It is also a tourist centre with Jalianwala Bagh, the Golden Temple and the Wagah Border retreat ceremony everyday. There is hardly a day when there is no VIP here and we are more often than not on VIP duty.”

Thousands of youngmen are dieing in the prime of their lives but the Government does not seem to be ready to do anything. It is good that the media has started taking note of it. One Hindi daily on 10-10-01 carried a news headlined: “Kiske boote chalegi nasha virodhi muhim? Chhe zilon mein drug inspector nahin, naiee bharti ke prastav ko thukraya.”


The Health Department had demanded more Drug Inspectors but the Cabinet turned it down. When I read this, my reaction was: mothers and wives of a large number of youths who had died because of drugs should raid some sangat darshan darbar of Mr Badal and ask for an explanation.

Deadly drugs are also sold through young agents who get their commission not in the form of money but drugs for themselves.

Many die of eating smack to catch which the police does not need any Drug Inspector. I recently told a police officer that smack is sold also by a section of the policemen. He did not contradict this. In some cases smack could be had from a shop next to a police station.

Smack is being sold in Chheharta openly allegedly by men of at least one MLA. And patrons of smack-sellers are not only from the ruling parties. The Congress has travelled down a lot from the high hill of morals and ethical values of the times of Gandhi and Nehru.

How come that our Government has no money for additional drug inspectors even when crores are being eaten up by an army of ministers!

Corrupt politicians in power get huge funds also from those who trade in drugs and smack, especially on the eve of elections. And this is another reason for the Left taking up the issue in a big way.


Imam’s outburst

The Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust has condemned the vulgar comments of Syed Ahmed Bukhari, Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid, Delhi, against Shabana Azmi and demanded an apology from him. In fact, all right-thinking people should condemn his outbursts.

There is no doubt that the Shahi Imam sometimes does not mind his Ps and Qs while making a statement. He urged the Muslims to join the Taliban and their guest Osama bin Laden in what he called a jehad against the USA. According to Shabana, he does not represent the views of the whole Muslim community and the war is against the fundamentalists and not against Islam. She challenged the Imam to go to the front.

When contacted on the telephone by Star TV’s Barkha Dutt for her programme “We the People”, the Imam, instead of explaining his views courteously, used abominable contumely language against Shabana. Throwing moral excellence to winds, he called her a “naachney gaaney waali tawaaif”. He failed to realise that she was a respected film actress, a dignified social activist and an honourable member of the Rajya Sabha. Was not it an outrageous insult to the lady?

Islam accords great respect to women. Hazrat Mohammad (peace be on him) was the first prophet to give property rights to women. In his last historic “Khutba” (sermon) he declared, inter alia, “Fear Allah in the matters of women. As you have rights over them, they have same rights over you”.

In my school days, more than six decades ago, I had read a poem of Maulana Haali, a line from which still survives in my memory and reads as “Ai maao bahinon betiyon dunya kee izzat tujh sey hai.”

Being the prelate of the Jama Masjid — the most eminent mosque in the country — the Shahi Imam should have used dignified language about Shabana. His scurrilous utterances remind me of Allama Iqbal’s verse:

Pir-e-haram ko dekha hai main ney.

Kirdaar be-soz guftaar vaahi.

(I have seen the “Pir” of mosque. His conduct is without depth of feeling and talk silly).


Tehelka tapes doctored?

I wonder what kind of a feminist columnist you have in Ms Tavleen Singh?

While using The Tribune’s tribune she once had tried, albeit unconvincingly, to bail out a socialite friend who was running an unauthorised bar that nurture nothing but crime. And now, in order to rescue another tainted politician friend she has gone to the extent of proving the Tehelka tapes as “doctored” (Oct 27).

She perhaps forgets that quite a few Army officers have not only been convicted due to this taped-evidence, but also have publicly accepted their genuineness.

How an otherwise overcautious Tribune buys such silly arguments that are doctored to whitewash crime and corruption is beyond ones comprehension.

BALVINDER, Chandigarh

Hockey players in ads?

I just want to remind Coca Cola, Pepsi, Hero Honda, Bajaj Auto, Britannia and other corporate houses that our hockey players have also good faces like our national cricket players. They richly deserve a place in the advertisement world.


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