Words of consolation from colleagues were just not enough to stop a middle-aged assistant sub-inspector (ASI) of police from crying over his past follies that has almost ruined his life and that of his family.
“I wasted precious years of my life. My wife, my son and daughter, all discarded me. I may have turned a new leaf, but guilt just refuses to leave me and will probably remain with me till the end,” stated ASI Tejpal Singh, as tears rolled down his cheeks.
The ASI was among 100 odd drug addicts in the border range, who attended a drug de-addiction follow-up programme at Amritsar rural police lines at Daburji on Saturday. IGP (border range) Ishwar Chander, DIG SK Mittal and other senior officials of the border range interacted with the addicts, who claimed to have begun a new life after giving up drugs and undergoing medical treatment.
As the ASI narrated his story, he wept aloud and talked of the times when his son and daughter just refused to talk to him. From liquor, he went onto to consume smack (crude form of heroin) and became addicted to it.
“Being in police, I could get it very easily and on most of the occasions it used to be free of cost. In turn, I often protected those who sold drugs,” he said, while referring the motivation he got from fellow colleagues who helped him to turn a new leaf.
“Now, when I go home, my children come running to me. Everything has changed for the good at home and we are once again a happy family,” he added, while admitting that the past continues to haunt him.
Twenty-year-old Arshpreet Singh of Sursingh village in Tarn Taran district listened with apt attention to the ASI’s story, and when his turn came, he just stood in silence for sometimes and finally gathered courage to mutter: “Drugs destroyed my kabaddi carrier. I had represented the state at junior-level national kabaddi competitions a couple of years back.”
Arshpreet began consuming smack to enhance his stamina, but eventually he got hooked on to it. Coming from a well-off farming family, he had no problems in getting money for buying the drug. On the advice of friends and family members, he got himself admitted to a de-addiction centre in Tarn Taran. He is completely cured now and has resumed playing kabaddi.
Arshpreet had no problems in getting his daily quota of smack, which was available in his village. However, after he kicked the drug habit, he made it sure that those who were selling smack in his village were put behind the bars.
In fact, a number of addicts, who have resumed normal life once again, were responsible for getting those arrested from whom they used to buy drugs. A prominent drug dealer of Serai Amanat Khan village in Tarn Taran district, who was well connected politically, was put behind the bars on the statement of addicts after they got cured.
Some of the cured youths also talked about cheating their parents for money or even stealing money for buying drugs. There were others who took to committing thefts such as stealing tubewell motors and agricultural equipment, and then selling these to farmers at low rates. The money they got was used for buying smack or other drugs.