After dope tests, Badal seeks apology from Congress, AAP

Chandigarh, Oct 21 (IANS) With dope tests conducted on 3.75 lakh aspirants for police jobs showing that only 1.27 per cent of the youth had tested positive, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday asked leaders of the opposition Congress and AAP leaders to apologise for defaming Punjab youth.

Terming Punjab Congress President Amarinder Singh and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Arvind Kejriwal as the “demon duo”, Badal said they should “tender an honest and unconditional apology to the people of Punjab and its youth for conducting a dangerous image distortion fraud against them by branding the children of the land of the Gurus as a generation of drug addicts”.

Badal said the anti-Punjab leaders must now disclose how they arrived at the figure of “70 per cent youth of Punjab being drug addicts”.

“The campaign launched by the Congress and AAP to brand Punjabis as drug addicts was akin to the Congress campaign of the ’80s which branded all Sikhs as terrorists,” Badal pointed out.

He regretted that while Punjab was leading the nation’s war against drugs, including cross border narco-terror, opposition parties were defaming Punjab and its people.

“Now the defamation campaign initiated against us stands thoroughly exposed as only 1.27 per cent of the tested 3.75 lakh youth have been tested positive for drug abuse,” Badal pointed out, adding that this was the biggest dope test exercise conducted in the world.

Baba Farid Health University (BFHU) Vice Chancellor Raj Bahadur, whose institution was entrusted with the responsibility of conducting the tests by the Punjab government during the Punjab Police recruitment drive, disclosed that the objective of the study was to identify incidence of drug use in the state’s youths.

“We decided to test candidates presenting themselves for recruitment as constables. Urine samples were taken using standard USFDA approved kits at a cost of Rs 3 crore; 3.75 lakh persons were tested across the state,” the vice chancellor said.

He said that only 4,501 candidates (1.27 per cent) tested positive for drug use.

“Some candidates who had used performance enhancers were given an opportunity to get themselves retested and 1,672 candidates cleared the subsequent test,” he added.

“I can confidently state in my professional capacity that the statistics prove that the incidence of drug abuse in Punjab is less than national and international averages,” Raj Bahadur pointed out.

Rejecting the Akali Dal-sponsored survey on drug abuse in the state as a “state-sponsored” piece of fabrication, the Punjab Congress on Friday accused Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal of trying to mislead people by fudging official numbers.

In a statement issued here, a Congress spokesperson said that Badal’s claim that there were only about 1 per cent drug addicts in Punjab was “nothing but a bundle of lies, which was in total conflict with data based on independent surveys”.

“The government-sponsored figures released by Sukhbir are a clear attempt to hoodwink the people of Punjab,” the statement said.

“The controlled sample used by the Akali government to support its claim that there was no serious drugs problem in the state could not help them cover up the issue. The sample on which Sukhbir’s claims were based related to the 3.75 lakh youth who had applied for police recruitment, and who were naturally expected to be normal and healthy,” the statement said.

The statement pointed out that the Badal government had itself admitted, in an affidavit submitted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on July 13, 2015, that between June 2014 and June 2015, three lakh addicts had approached the de-addiction centres for treatment, while 13,000 were admitted indoors.