In case of a mistaken identity, police apprehended a peer educator registered under the Needle Syringe Exchange Programme initiated by the Punjab State Aids Control Society on late Friday.
On finding used, fresh syringes and condoms from his bag, police mistook him for a drug supplier and took him to the Division Number 1 station. The man claimed that he repeatedly told police about the project under which he was working, but to no avail. He also alleged that the cops thrashed him.
Later when the manager of the project, Upender Singh, came to know about the incident, he along with other officials rushed to the police station and explained about the programme. He said it took him over an hour to convince the police. After the incident, officials of the project also wrote a letter to police commissioner RK Jaiswal and requested him to educate police officials about the programme so that such kind of harassment was avoided.
Upender Singh said, “Drug addicts use a single syringe to inject narcotics in their veins that invites HIV infection. To save them from infection, the Punjab State Aids Control Society has initiated the Needle Syringe Exchange Programme under the target intervention project.”
He added, “These peer educators give new syringes against the used ones to these dr ug addicts under the programme in which around 650 addicts have been registered in the district.”
“A total of 12 such peer educators are working in Ludhiana. The main aim of the programme is to help drug addicts to give up drugs,” he added.
Programme director Inderjit Dhingra said if police continued to apprehend peer educators, the project would not be able to achieve desired results.