“Udta Punjab will not happen here”, says Karnataka Home Minister

The Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka says strict steps have been taken to check the drug menace in the state

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons
Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

NH Political Bureau

While accepting that there was a problem, the Siddaramaiah government in Karnataka said that stringent measures have been taken to check the drug menace in the state.

“A special drive has been launched to curb the drug menace in the state, especially in Bengaluru and Mangaluru. We will not allow Bengaluru to go the Punjab way,” said Karnataka Home Minister G Parameshwara. He was responding to BJP MLC Lahar Singh in the Legislative Council on Thursday.

The drug menace in Punjab was a glaring fact of Punjab, but the previous Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP government was in eternal denial, and perhaps the main reason for its drubbing in the recent Assembly polls.

The menace of illegal and contraband drugs is said to be rising its head in Karnataka in recent years. The drug mafia is said to be predating schools and colleges to get the youth hooked especially in the state capital, which is known as the country’s Silicon City.

Udta Punjab will not happen here,” declared Parameshwara.

Udta Punjab was a Hindi movie starring Pooja Bhatt and Shahid Kapoor that highlighted the severe incidence of drug abuse that was incapacitating Punjab’s youth. The SAD-BJP leaders had opposed the movie alleging it “defamed” Punjab while maintaining that the drug issue was being exaggerated. In fact, more controversy erupted when the Censor Board reportedly raised objections to the movie.

Parameshwara said the Karnataka government had taken the matter seriously and directed police to take stringent action against drug peddlers. “It has been come to the notice of the police that petty shops near colleges indulge in peddling,” he said. He said 65 Indian and 23 foreign nationals have been arrested in connection with drug-trafficking cases in the past two-and-a-half months.

The minister also said there are 1,023 foreign nationals overstaying in the state. “We have been in touch with the External Affairs Ministry, and around 59 of overstaying foreign nationals have been deported,” he said.

About the recent mysterious death of a Nigerian national, who overstayed his visa in Bengaluru, Parameshwara said he was a drug trafficker and had died in a road mishap. “Nobody has claimed his body despite the Nigerian High Commission being informed. Right steps will be taken to dispose of the body after getting court orders,” he said.

In fact, Parameshwara had recently said that the government was mulling on adopting the Goan model in the matter of deporting Nigerian students and citizens who are involved with trafficking of drugs including ganja and heroin.

With PTI inputs.

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