Amarinder urges Akal Takht to issue appeal against drug abuse
Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Thursday urged Akal Takht jathedar Giani Gurbachan Singh to appeal to the Sikh community not to resort to drug abuse and strictly follow the path shown by the great gurus.
“Sri Akal Takht Sahib, the highest temporal seat of the Sikhs, has always played a proactive role whenever the state is faced with any sort of crisis,” Amarinder wrote in a letter to the Akal Takht jathedar.
The appeal to the Akal Takht comes five days after the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president and former deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal had, in an interview to HT, advocated bringing Akal Takht and all other religious and political leaders on one platform for a joint fight against drugs in the state.
Besides showing his intent of leaving no stone unturned in dealing with the drug menace, Capt’s appeal to Akal Takht is also being seen in political circles as an attempt to gradually take over the Akalis’ Panthic agenda.
Earlier, Giani Gurbachan Singh had also urged the Punjab government to take strict measures to curb the drug menace prevalent in the state. “It is the duty of Punjab Police and the state government to tackle the menace,” he said.
Amarinder, in his letter, pointed out that a sizeable chunk of the state’s population had been in the grip of drug abuse for the past many years and several youngsters from the Sikh families had also fallen prey to it. He also expressed concern over the gravity of the situation caused by drug abuse, which was contrary to the Sikh tenets. Though the government has already launched a vigorous anti-drug campaign, its efforts needed to be further strengthened and supplemented, added the chief minister.
The Congress government has been facing flak over a spate of deaths due to suspected drug overdose in different parts of the state in the past two months. It has taken a number of steps, including mandatory dope tests on all its government employees and recommending death penalty for first-time drug smugglers.