Pre-Election Anti-Drug March Planned in Punjab

Amritsar Sahib—Five hundred children whose parents are drug addicts would be kicking off the march from Makboolpura (a low slum area of drug addicts) Amritsar against the distribution of drugs and liquor during the ensuing elections of the Punjab Assembly.  The 7-day march would be led by H.S. Phoolka, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India. The march would be flagged off by Jathedar Akal Takht Gyani Gurbachan Singh by performing ardas (prayer as per Sikh rituals) at the Harmandir Sahib.

The first phase is of three days, 13th, 14th and 15th January 2012, which would cover Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Ferozpur, Mukhsar, Faridkot, Moga and Ludhiana. The first phase will end at Ludhiana on the 15th of January. The second phase will take place on 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd January and would cover other districts of Punjab.

A delegation consisting of Kuldeep Nayar, noted Journalist; Justice Rajinder Sachar (Retd.), President, PUCL; H.S. Phoolka and  Bhuvan Ribhu, Gen. Sec. Bachpan Bachao Andolan met the Chief Election Commissioner, S.Y. Qureshi and the other two election commissioners on Wednesday. The CEC appreciated this move by the civil society and said that there is a dire need of such movements.  Qureshi stated that drugs and liquor distribution is a major problem in Punjab and the Election Commission requires the support of civil society to put a check on this evil. The Election Commission assured its complete support and cooperation towards the initiative.

Phoolka informed the Election Commission that they have started 2 hotline numbers where anyone can lodge a complaint if any candidate is found distributing drugs or liquor. The hotline numbers are 09779747474 and 09872959595. The Election Commission has assured that any complaint communicated to the Commission would be met with prompt action. Phoolka also informed the Election Commission that their group has formed monitoring committees in all districts of Punjab and a strong team of lawyers in Chandigarh and district centres all over Punjab would render legal assistance to initiate action against errant candidates.

The legal team at Chandigarh is headed by Navkiran Singh, Advocate and Roshanlal Batta, Senior Advocate. The Election Commission was also apprised that a number of organizations have joined hands in this campaign. The President of the Indian Medical Association, Punjab Chapter, Dr. Shiv Dutt Gupta and the President of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association,S. Dhaliwal have extended full cooperation.

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