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Back in 1920, Dhotian village had sent a team for a tug-of-war event to England and won the competition there. The British government wanted to reward village for its achievement and asked villagers for their wish. Villagers, in turn, asked the British government to remove the liquor vend from the village. Their wish was granted, though the liquor vend returned to the village after Independence.
Almost 98 years later, Dhotian village is again in the news, this time because of a viral video of body of a village youth who died in his house while taking drug injection in his veins. Gurbhej Singh’s body was found in the bathroom of his house, with syringes still in his veins. He was earlier booked in a drug case but and recently released on bail.
This was not the first death in the village due to drug overdose. Around five months back, Gurjit Singh had died similarly.
Dhotian village has had an Akali sarpanch for last 30 years. SAD leader Jasbir Singh from Dhotian is Taran Taran District Planning Board president. His brother Paramjit Singh, former sarpanch of Dhotian, was appointed as Mandi Board president during the pervious SAD-BJP government.
Talking to The Indian Express, Paramjit Singh said, “The drugs smugglers associated with the SAD government before the Assembly elections have now joined Congress. So, nothing has changed for drug smugglers. Gurbhej is not the first person from my village who has died of drug addiction. Parents often do not admit their child has died of addiction.”
“During the Akali government, my family tried our best to protect our village from drug smugglers. My family has given sarpanch to the village for the last 30 years. We were successful to some extent in controlling drug smugglers. But now, there is no control. Congress MLAs have given them a free hand. Drugs smugglers have to pay money to politicians to sell drugs. They must have been paying this money during the Akali government and the same continues in the Congress government. In fact, it is worse,” he said.
Dhotian is not an exception. Many such videos of drug deaths in this area have vent viral on social media. These videos are not only from Tarn Taran, but also from other parts of Punjab.
In Tarn Taran district, Navneet Singh of village Bhel, Gurjit Singh Bhikhiwind, Gurlal Singh of Goindwal and Surjit Singh of Jhabal lost their lives due to drug overdose in the last one week even as SDA and Congress have been making allegations and counter-allegations over the issue.
Ranjit Singh Brahmpura, Akali MP from Khadoor Sahib, said, “Around 15 youths have died of drug overdose in Tarn Taran during the last one week. Captain Amarinder Singh had taken oath on Gutka Sahib ahead before Assembly elections to end the drug menace in four weeks. He should apologize for not keeping his oath.”
“These deaths have exposed the nexus of Congress leaders, police and drug smugglers,” he said.
Former SAD MLA Virsa Singh Valtoha said, “We never said there was no drug issue in Punjab. Our point was that it was an international problem. The issue was politicised out of proportion. We had controlled the drug menace and also achieved success. But now, rate of drug deaths has increased sharply. The Congress government has no intention to control the drug smuggling.”
Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Tarn Taran Congress President and Khemkaran MLA, said, “Around five such drug deaths have came to my notice. But these drug deaths are not due to easy availability of drugs. In fact, drug supply chain has been broken and now some people have been making synthetic drugs at home, which is causing these deaths. Police are working with efficiency.”
In another video, ex-serviceman claims attacked by drug smugglers
Uploading a video on the social media, an ex-serviceman, Jasbir Singh of Noordi village in Tarn Taran district, has claimed some alleged drug peddlers thrashed him after entering his house for being active against drug smuggling. Police have booked some persons for the alleged attack, but said it had nothing to do with his claimed activism against drug smuggling.