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Tortured inmates freed, rehab centre in dock

punjab Updated: Apr 28, 2012 11:31 IST
Gurpreet Singh Mehak

The licence of rehabilitation centre for drug addicts was cancelled on Friday and 27 inmates, who were allegedly held in captivity, got released by the Fatehgarh Sahib administration.

Deputy commissioner Yashvir Mahajan ordered closure of the centre being run for over four years at Attewali village by Jatinder Singh, a resident of village Harlalpur, who is at large and has been booked. A school health coordinator employed on contract with the state government, Harpal Singh, was working as a counsellor at the centre, and could face departmental action.

The DC's action came after a team of the health department led by civil surgeon Dr Gurmel Singh Chahal raided the centre on Thursday on a tip-off, and found that the inmates were being kept there forcibly. "The owner had employed four burly men as 'bouncers' to ensure no one ran away," said the civil surgeon. Also, the centre with only 14 beds was advertising itself as a drug de-addiction centre, "even though legally it could only work as an after-care counselling centre for those who have quit drugs".

"There were no proper sleeping arrangements for the inmates, no regular staff. The inmates cooked for themselves and cleaned the centre," said Dr Chahal. "Inmates told us they were beaten up regularly. While some were admitted by their families for a fee of Rs 50,000 per three months, hoping that they would shun their bad habits.