Preparations were in full swing for Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) dharna to create mass awareness against the use of drugs at the Attari grain market on January 5 (Monday), 3 km from the border, on Sunday, with the party hoping to bring in over 50,000 people to venue.
Cabinet minister Gulzar Singh Ranike, who represents Attari constituency in the state assembly, supervised the arrangements. Other Akali leaders and cops also thronged to the venue.
“The aim of the dharna is to create awareness against drugs. We will be roping in around 50,000 people to participate in the two-hour programme that starts at noon.”
A massive stage has constructed and a pandal has been arranged to seat the public and SAD workers. No chairs have been arranged and everybody will be sitting on the floor. The SAD has prepared a number of banners against the drug menace and the venue is expected to be plastered with these.
Punjab deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who will be leading the programme in Attari, is expected to arrive in the city by late Sunday evening. He will participate in other dharnas near the border at Attari, Hussainiwala and Sadki on Monday.
The SAD, which had initially termed this protest to be against the Border Security Force (BSF), later took a U-turn and called it as an awareness rally against drugs.
During his recent visit to the city, Sukhbir had termed these dharnas as a protest against Afghanistan and Pakistan, claiming that these countries were pushing drugs into India. The protest aimed to make sure that the BSF stayed alert and stopped the entry of drugs into the state, he had said.
“The SAD wants to show the country that Punjab is fighting a war against drugs and the state has been defamed,” he had said.
In a press release on Sunday, Sukhbir said, “Punjabis have formed a second front after the BSF and stopped drugs that make it into the state from Pakistan to go any further. We should be applauded for this. Drugs continue to seep into Punjab from across the border. We need sensors and CCTV cameras to seal our borders. Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan cultivate opium and sell it for profit. This must stop and if it happens, the country will get rid of drugs.”
Cops from other districts called in
SSP Amritsar (rural) Jasdeep Singh, said, “We have called in cops from other districts to ensure that that no untoward incident takes place. Additional traffic cops have also been called in.”
· A massive stage has constructed and a pandal has been arranged to seat the public and SAD workers.
· No chairs have been arranged and everybody will be sitting on the floor.
· The SAD has prepared a number of banners against the drug menace and the venue is expected to be plastered with these.