Mukhtiar Singh’s, 28-year-old son, Manjit suffered drug overdose and died. He was not the one to admit that his son had died of heart-attack or typhus or was bitten by tsetse fly from Kalahari Desert. He would not collaborate with the government charade of ‘there are no drugs in Punjab, young Punjabis are simply dying because they had nothing else to do, since the field work was taken over by people from UP and Bihar’
Mukhtiar Singh went against the government diktat; he knew there was drug addiction in state and if bringing out the truth meant defamation of the state of the Punjab. Then so be it. He was anther father who would laying his child to rest, just like countless other parents.
But, Mukhtiar Singh had other plans, he covered his son’s body with shroud, addressed a message to the Prime Minister of India, which as per a magazine that we have used to verify this story, ‘Lakhs of young Punjabis have died due to drug addiction. My son has also fallen victim to it. I am sending this memorandum to you via the administration, hoping that this will help save other youths of the state.’
The administration took notice, and his semi-successful crusade received the slogan ‘Kafan Bol Peya’ (the Shroud has spoken), Mukhtiar Singh’s theatricality gained him the support he was looking for, and he received the support from the people and in some parts from the administration.
Mukhtiar filed right-to-information applications seeking district-wise details of all those who had sought treatment at the state’s de-addiction centers in 2014 and 2015. Tarn Taran district was the most severely affected by addiction. In 2014, more than 83,000 people sought treatment, while in 2015, more than 70,000 did the same—corresponding to about 7 and 6 percent, respectively, of the district’s population as per the 2011 census. One reply Mukhtiar received stated that the district had seen a little over 27,000 new patients in 2014, and a little over 20,000 new patients in 2015.
Every opposition worth its while quotes the numbers that are painstakingly procured by Mukhtiar Singh. For obvious reasons INC does not bitch much about the drug problems as they are equally culpable.
The Punjab administration if it wanted could stop the menace from spreading. The SAD government is seeking votes in the name of the Panth, the youth of the Panth can be found in the numerous deaddiction centers around the state or at the various Opioid Substitution Therapy (OST) Centers, set up by the central government.
For the people of the Punjab the first stride towards winning against this menace is talking about it. That is the power of acceptance. It is a hard choice but the right choice nevertheless.
‘I had to forcefully write ‘heroin, smack injection’ separately in the application declaring my son’s death before the municipal council. Tell me which father will do this? They do not even want to accept that drugs led to my son’s death. But now my war has started and it will reach Delhi’