'Willing to undergo dope test,' says Punjab CM Amarinder Singh; calls for social movement to wipe out drug menace in state

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh said on Thursday he was willing to undergo a dope test but would leave it to the conscience of other elected representatives if they wanted to follow suit.

He was responding to demands from certain sections, including the opposition parties and also from within the Congress, that politicians should also be made to undergo dope tests as had been mandated for government employees.

"I have no problem taking a dope test," said the chief minister.

Given the gigantic scale of the drug problem, nobody should be having any problems about taking such a test, he said. The chief minister pointed out that some politicians, including a minister in his cabinet, had already shown the way by volunteering for drug screening.

File image of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. AFP

File image of Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. AFP

He said no fingers had so far been raised at any politician in the existing regime of complicity of any kind in drug abuse or trading. However, if any minister or MLA feels the need to offer to take the test, they are welcome to do so, Amarinder Singh said.

The chief minister, in a statement, said he would have no hesitation in doing so.

Earlier on Thursday, AAP MLA Aman Arora had challenged the chief minister to undergo a dope test to set an example for his ministers and MLAs.

Arora underwent a dope test at the Mohali civil hospital, saying he considered it his moral responsibility to do so.

The Punjab Government Employees Organisation had also demanded that ministers and MLAs must undertake similar drug tests. "We have no objection to the dope test. But why only government employees are being targeted? We are not drug addicts," said the organisation president Sukhchain Singh Khaira.

"The ministers, MLAs who also draw salary from the same state treasury like us, should also undergo the test," he added.

Punjab Cabinet minister Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, who favoured that all politicians should get dope test done, also went to the civil hospital for a test. However, his test could not be done as he was under medication.

Congress leader Manish Tewari had welcomed the move of Punjab government for conducting dope test of employees. However, the former union minister said the test should be made mandatory for all MLAs and MPs from the state.

Singh calls for social movement to wipe out drugs

On Friday, the chief minister also called for a social movement to eradicate the drug menace in the state, saying the police could only build pressure it's the people who could truly help wipe out the problem.

Making it clear that he did not subscribe to violence of any kind, Singh told mediapersons on the sidelines of a book release function in Chandigarh that a peoples movement was the only solution to the problem.

Already, one could see villagers come out to nab drug peddlers, said the chief minister, adding that such help from the people would go a long way in eliminating drugs.

He recalled the peoples movement that had built up during the days of terrorism, when, tired of the mindless violence, people had started coming out to help the police with information on terrorists.

The problem can only be solved jointly, he said, pointing out that the signs of change were clearly visible, with numbers of drug addicts dwindling as more and more people were trying to get out of the deadly clutches of drugs.

He declared that anybody in the previous regime found guilty of complicity would not be spared if evidence against them is found by the investigating agencies.

The chief minister said a lot had been heard about the doings of certain leaders in the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime and while he did not want to indulge in political vendetta, he would not let anyone against whom there is proof go scot-free.

Recalling that he had, in the run-up to the 2017 Assembly elections, promised to break the backbone of drug trade, the chief minister said the government had clearly succeeded in doing that.

"There is shortage of drugs, particularly heroin, prices have gone up," he said.

On the alleged use of concoctions and mixtures as a substitute for drugs by addicts, the chief minister said it was an extremely dangerous trend, which was responsible for causing instant deaths, as had been happening in recent weeks.

The government was cracking down on the use of such mixtures, he added.

With inputs from PTI

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Updated Date: Jul 07, 2018 11:21 AM

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