Chandigarh – A day after his Cabinet resolved to recommend death penalty to the Union Government for drug smugglers and peddlers, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday ordered investigation into the recent spate of drug-related deaths followed by stringent action against those found guilty, without consideration to their political affiliations. Describing drug abuse as a disease requiring treatment, the Chief Minister stressed on the need for rehabilitation of the victims and for making the anti-drug campaign a people’s movement. Pointing out that enforcement was different from creating awareness, he said the latter could not be done by a single agency but had to be a collective effort involving the people.The Chief Minister was interacting with a group of social activists, who called on him at his official residence to discuss the problem. The activists, including a former victim, had recently launched ‘Black Week against Drugs’ on the social media to create awareness about the problem. The group comprised Dr Bhupinder Singh, Hakam Singh, Baltej Pannu and Baljinder Singh, a reformed drug addict. They welcomed the stern steps taken by the Captain Amarinder Singh government, which they said had brought about a perceptible change in the public mood and perception about the issue.The activists squarely blamed the Akalis, who they said did nothing to channelise the energy of the youth. They said that the erstwhile Akali government had pulled money out of Sports and other activities that could engage youth, thus letting them be pulled into drugs. Captain Amarinder Singh promised all cooperation to the activists in creating awareness against drugs and suggested that they organise rallies and candle marches in villages, in coordination with antidrug abuse prevention officers programme already launched by the government. “DCs and SSPs should participate in such events,” he added.
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