After allegedly brutally beaten up by the staff members, 45 youths reportedly escaped after breaking the boundary wall and the main gate of the Ujala Foundation drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centre at Chrik village, 14 km from here on Tuesday.
The fleeing youths reached the Dr Mathura Dass civil hospital in a critical condition. Several youths were badly injured, who alleged that the staf f members of the centre used to beat them up every day.
After receiving information about this incident, a crowd of the people gathered around the centre who alleged t hat the inmates were complaining about being kept in overcrowded rooms, being made to walk bare feet in winter and summer as well as to stand for hours under the sun. They also claimed to have been routinely beaten up.
Gurwinder Singh, a resident of Indergarh village, Kuldeep Singh of Tharaj village, Simranjeet Singh, Randee p Singh, Hartej Singh, Kuldeep Singh, Teerath Singh and Sukhpreet Singh, who reached the hospital for treatment, alleged that the staf f of the centre always threatened them that if they disclosed the bad situation of the centre to their parents over phone, they would teach them a lesson that they would remember forever.
Some youths showed their wounds on their bodies to the doctors at the emergency ward. Two people were admitted to the hospital while others were discharged from the hospital after first aid.
Prof Inderjit Singh Doshanj, organiser of the centre, said that some youths allegedly broke the expensive goods of the institution and stole Rs. 27,000 from the office and fled early morning on Tuesday. “There is no question of torching the drug addicts. Several computers have also been destroyed,” he added.
The police have reportedly registered counter-cases under various sections of the IPC against about 18 youths as well as against the organisers of the centre on the statements of the youths.
Jagdish Lal, station house officer (SHO) of Chrik police station, said, “We are investigating the entire matter. If I will say anything regarding this matter it will be too early. However, we have recorded the statements of the youths and some prominent residents of Chrik. I hope that the actual picture will be clear in the next 24 hours.”
When contacted, Moga deputy commissioner Arshadeep Singh Thind, said, “I have ordered an inquiry into the matter by ADC (General) Amit Kumar. A special committee including chief medical officer Dr Amarjit Kaur has been formed to look into the incident. As soon as the committee submits its report, action would be taken immediately against the guilty.”