Sharpening the attack on the Punjab Police for failing to crack down on the drug menace in the state, Rural and Housing Development Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa, a close aide of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, on Tuesday demanded a dope test of police officials from the level of DSP to IG.
“The government should get all DSPs, SSPs and IGs tested for dope. I understand the SAD-BJP government too got a similar test done. If not more, at least one senior officer would test positive,” the minister told The Indian Express.
He said he had sought a meeting with the CM to place the demand. “I will meet him. We have to discuss a few issues. I will raise this issue with him,” he said.
On what prompted him to make this demand, Bajwa said, “Ikk chup sau sukh (Silence is Golden).”
The government has dismissed two police officers after a public and political outcry on a spate of deaths of drug addicts. The political leadership of the government has squarely blamed the police. In a specially convened meeting of the Cabinet on Monday, the ministers had taken on DGP Suresh Arora and alleged that lower ranked officials in the police, who stayed put in their place of postings for over a decade, were responsible for the problem. Arora then sought to turn the tables by stating that the SHOs were being posted only on the recommendation of party MLAs and leaders.
Bajwa told The Indian Express that he had told the DGP that he would want officers of his choice in his home district Gurdaspur. “Just give me six months and then come to my district. If you find a single youth on drugs and not getting rehabilitated in a deaddiction centre, you blame me,” he said, adding that he would personally ensure he takes each and every youth to the deaddiction centre.
“We raised this issue that after each drug death, a case of 304 IPC should be registered and the post-mortem of the victim should be performed to know what caused the death. Otherwise, we are groping in the dark about what is happening,” the minister said.
A senior Punjab Police officer, requesting anonymity, said an annual health check was mandatory in the police force from top to bottom, but this did not include a dope test. But, he said, the government could introduce it as there were reports that some policemen were in the grip of narcotics.
Last week, Chandigarh Police arrested a drug-addicted Punjab Police constable for chain-snatching. The constable had been in service since 2011, and his addiction to drugs began in 2013, but went unnoticed till his June-end arrest.