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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

White death versus the rest

Anshu Seth, Hindustan Times  Baddowal (Ludhiana), April 24, 2014
First Published: 08:56 IST(24/4/2014) | Last Updated: 09:00 IST(24/4/2014)

Smack addict Dharminder Singh of Baddowal village was 29 when he died in 2013. The best of treatment and rehabilitation failed to save him. “Drugs were just a call away and the suppliers could not be held,” said Manjit Kaur, the mother who is left to grieve.

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Ludhiana Lok Sabha constituency lost scores of more sons to smack, heroin and cocaine. In only four villages in 15-kilometre radius, the death toll is 20 in a year.

Janghpur had recorded nine deaths, Baddowal five, Boparai four, and Rakba two, said elderly men gathered to discuss voting.

“If we utter even a word against the drug traders, they can go to any extent to harm our families. If the state government had shown the will, the situation would not be out of hand,” said a villager.

A retired soldier at Janghpur said he had spent Rs. 3 lakh to get his son, 23, off heroin. “In another family, two brothers aged 32 and 35 died within six months,” he said. For “Chitta” (white, popular name of heroin and smack), a son sold off the family mobile phones and even its last soap cake to fund his daily dose.

The family would lock him up for days but the habit of drugs had stolen him.

Blaming the state’s ruling party, a man from Dakha recalled more than 100 addicts in the age group of 15 to 40 in his village alone. “White-powder terrorism is killing our children and the authorities concerned have failed to help.

The police ask us for inputs about drug traders but we fear it’s a trap to identify and nail the objectors,” stated a young voter of Dakha.

“The people of the village see no reason to vote for the party that killed their children, ” said the young man.

Almost every villager said Baddowal was the hub of all drug trade, as the addicts had told them.

Sarpanch Amarjot Singh confirmed that the situation had become “alarming” in the past six years.

“The boys who take drugs also get into selling the substance. Many are in police books but they don’t give up the habit,” he added.

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