In a determined effort to combat the escalating drug abuse crisis among youth, women-led groups in rural Punjab have united to play a crucial role in tracing and identifying drug traffickers.
As dusk descends, these dedicated women volunteers spring into action. They establish multiple checkpoints and roadblocks at village entry points, where they inspect all incoming vehicles thoroughly using torches. If they suspect someone, they communicate via mobile phones and, upon catching a drug peddler, record a video before alerting the police. Communities.
A Growing Movement
This concept of community policing has gained momentum in various districts, particularly in border areas like Gurdaspur, Pathankot, Tarn Taran, Ferozepur, and Amritsar. Videos of young people consuming drugs often go viral, prompting these “thikri pehra” volunteers to track down the peddlers and hand them over to law enforcement.
A Commitment to Protect Youth
“All able-bodied men and women inhabitants perform patrol duty in all villages day and night,” says Bhagwant Kaur, a dedicated villager. She emphasizes the importance of their vigilance, especially in the evenings when women have time to devote to community policing.
The Challenge of Drug Peddlers
Punjab has witnessed an alarming increase in drug abuse among teenagers, with some turning to drug peddling for quick earnings. The peddlers often deal in small quantities, allowing them to secure bail even after drug seizures. According to a first-year college student, Pavitar Singh, trafficking synthetic drugs like “chitta” can yield substantial monthly earnings of ₹25,000 to ₹35,000.
The Battle Against Drug Abuse
The battle against drug abuse is relentless, with many households losing their primary earners to addiction. Maqboolpura, a village on the outskirts of Amritsar, is infamously known as the “village of widows” due to the high number of drug-related casualties.
The BSF, responsible for guarding the Indo-Pakistan International Border, has also intercepted drug smugglers. In 2022 alone, the BSF captured 22 drones and seized 317 kg of heroin in Punjab.
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