Millennium Post

Secure borders?

In a not so veiled reference to Aam Aadmi Party, Modi claimed that a government in Punjab run by "outsiders" could be counterproductive for the state and national security. "If a government of outsiders comes in Punjab, it will neither be good for Punjab nor for nation's security," he said. It is an interesting point to make considering individual members of the current ruling establishment in Punjab have been accused of actively encouraging the drug trade, in collusion with some state police and paramilitary personnel. In 2013, Shiromani Akali Dal leader Maninder Singh Aulakh had admitted to police interrogators that state government vehicles were used to run the drug syndicate. Aulakh was nabbed soon after the Punjab Police arrested Jagdish Singh Bhola, a former wrestler-turned-drug peddler, on charges of orchestrating a massive drug racket in the state.

In a revelation that sent shockwaves across Punjab, Bhola had named Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Badal's brother-in-law Bikram Majithia, an influential minister in the state government, as one of those involved in the drug trade. Majithia was soon questioned by the Enforcement Directorate. Moreover, another Punjab government minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur had to resign after his son Damanvir Singh's name came up during the investigation carried out by the Enforcement Directorate into the drug racket. However, allegations surrounding the Badal clan's involvement in the drug trade are yet to be proven in a court of law. Although the Punjab Police had reportedly submitted a four-page report to the state government way back in 2007, which contained the names of some influential politicians, state police officials, and security personnel involved in the drug trade, no action was taken. It's abundantly clear that the Punjab government has done little to crack down on the drug trade, leaving its borders vulnerable to infiltration as was observed in last year's terror attack on the airbase in Pathankot. The Prime Minister and Badals may assert one thing, but public perception is another ball game altogether. The Aam Aadmi Party has been relentless in attacking the ruling Punjab government for its inability to deal with the drug problem.

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