“I lost my son to a a drug overdose and don’t want this to ever happen to anybody else,” says Mukhtyar Singh, 46, who had launched a drive — ‘Kafan Bol Peya (shroud speaks out) on March 26, 2016, the day he had lost his 28-year-old son.
Mukhtyar, who is an assistant lineman in the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL), Patti, was shaken by the death of his graduate son, Manjit Singh, who got hooked to drugs due to unemployment.
“The death of my son gave me sleepless nights and after remaining upset for many days, I decided to launch a war against drugs, considering it as my fundamental duty,” he told HT.
Despite being an employee of Punjab government, he is not afraid of targeting it and holding it responsible for the drug menace. ‘Nashe naal puttan di maut: Sarkar zimevaar (government is responsible for deaths of sons due to drugs)’ — reads the slogan on the tunic he wears at most of the non-political social events. The campaign has been named ‘Nasha bhajao, putt bachao’ (Root out drugs, save sons).
“It is the government that patronises drug smugglers. To hide the reality of drug menace in Punjab, the government pressures people who had lost their loved ones to drugs to keep shut and the facts are manipulated. The state government may harm me, but I don’t care and am ready to sacrifice everything I have for the cause,” he said.
Mukhtyar said the information about addicts he has received from different hospitals and drug de-addiction centres from parts of Punjab under the Right to Information Act suggests that the problem is serious. “I will share the data once I get the entire data.” Mukhtyar had performed the last rites of his son only after carrying out the funeral procession across the town to make people know about the drug menace.
After demonstrating outside the SDM office by placing Manjit’s body, he, along with other social crusaders, handed over the shroud to the officer with a message written on it that read: “Lakhs of youngsters have already died of drugs. Today, same thing happened with my son. I am sending my son’s body as a memorandum to the Indian government through administration with the hope that the rest of the youngsters would be saved.”
“I want a complete check on drug trade and arrest of those who deal in it,” he said.