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Drugs, crime and politics

Tuesday, 6 November 2012 - 8:59am IST | Place: Chandigarh | Agency: dna

Politicians are sheltering young delinquents in Punjab as the recent kidnapping of a minor girl from Faridkot shows.

The Nishan Singh-Priya (girl’s name changed) case in Faridkot has demonstrated how drug-addict teenage boys in the state are taking to crime enjoying political patronage.

 Nishan Singh Brar, 19, a school drop-out had 18 criminal cases already registered against him, when he stormed into the house of 15-year-old Priya on September 24, fired shots in the air, and abducted her on gun point with the help of six of his teenage friends, who assaulted her parents and left their arms broken.

 The police was initially projected it as a elopement of a minor girl, allowing the abductors a long rope for almost a week. They made public a concocted letter allegedly written by Priya saying that she had gone away with Nishan. Later, the police released the picture of the minor girl and sought to build a love story between her and Nishan.

As the public pressure started mounting, they finally swung into action and identified 17 persons involved in the crime.
The police took more than a fortnight to bring Nishan and Priya from Goa.

The medical test conducted on her found her pregnant. She has since been staying in a shelter home in Jalandhar following a court order.

On Monday, more than a month after the abduction, the police arrested all the accused when the Youth Congress activists held a huge protest rally in the city.  On Monday, the court remanded Navjot Karu, Nishan Singh’s mother, and Dimpy Samra, a former Akali Dal councillor, in police custody.  Another senior Akali leader has also been patronising Nishan and influencing the police to overlook investigation in the 17 criminal cases against Nishan.
 Nishan had abducted Priya three months ago also, but the police did not take stringent action against him then.

To pressure the police, Nishan’s sympathisers circulated pictures that showed Nishan sharing the stage with deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal at a function in Faridkot recently. Most of the co-accused in the case are in their teens and have been habitual criminal offenders.

Public support, however, was quick to come by for the girl’s family as dharnas were organised in Faridkot with the support of political leaders even as complete bandh was observed twice against the police’s laxity.

In fact, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and Sukhbir Singh Badal cancelled their visits to the city fearing public outrage against the government.

The case has been often talked about as being an indicator of the state of youth in Punjab, who is alarmingly hooked on to drugs. During his recent visit, Rahul Gandhi expressed concern over the malaise saying that 70 per cent of the state youth was drug addict.


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