The Punjab and Haryana High Court rejected a petition challenging the release of Udta Punjab, due on Friday. This came shortly after the Supreme Court also dismissed a plea filed by an NGO seeking stay on the release of the Abhishek Chaubey’s film. Meanwhile, reports said the main accused behind the alleged leaking of Udta Punjab on the internet and the subsequent making of its DVDs has been identified and is likely to be arrested soon. With only a day to go for the release of the controversial film on Punjab’s drug problem, reports said the DVDs of the film were leaked in Mumbai. Udta Punjab was leaked online allegedly by a member of the Central Board of Film Certification, forcing its makers to allege that the movie was being sabotaged by Pahlaj Nihalani’s men.
An offence under the sections of the Copyright and Information Technology Act have been registered by the Mumbai Police. Meanwhile, Nihalani has rejected the allegation of a CBFC member behind the leak of the film. The film’s lead actors Shahid Kapoor and Alia Bhatt have appealed to their fans to not watch the pirated version of the movie online. Earlier, the Supreme Court also refused to entertain the plea of an NGO seeking stay on the release of the film and asked it to approach the Punjab and Haryana High Court. On June 13, the Bombay High Court had cleared the decks for the film’s release after ordering the deleting of an urination scene and displaying a revised disclaimer.
Producer Anurag Kashyap’s “Udta Punjab”, made a strong pitch for freedom of speech earlier, attacking Censor Board chief Pahlaj Nihalani, who has ordered 89 cuts in the film. Actually, ahead of elections BJP is in no mood to expose drugs scenario in Punjab, Nihalani is BJP pet and to please his political masters he has taken adequate steps by cutting the movie at length.
Earlier, Rahul Gandhi made a statement that seven out of 10 youth are drug addicts which resulted in a heated argument from Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), which is ruling party of the state. Rahul also proposed the youth to come and join hands with Congress and become a part of politics for bringing changes in the country. There are many allegations on Punjab government for breeding terror and drug trafficking. Variety of incidences, which takes place in Punjab, is due to youth heading towards wrong direction.
There was also a hash tag post #DrugsMafiaMajithia, on twitter by AAP supporters against Punjab’s revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia. Daring him to put him behind the bars, AAP national spokesperson Sanjay Singh commented that he continues to stick to his statement that ‘AAP will put Majithia behind the bars if voted to power as he is related to drug business in Punjab. Due to various issues and terror attack, drugs, flesh trading, arms, Badal government lost its credibility in the state and AAP could get strong foothold here. Meanwhile, Majithia has filed a defamation plea against Sanjay Singh in Ludhiana court claiming that without any proof he has been defamed as ‘drug trader’ by Sanjay Singh. Majithia had said that ‘not he but Sanjay Singh will be put behind the bars for defaming him. Anyway, after these allegation sagas no one went to jail and no one was actually exposed yet. The fact cannot be ignored that Punjab has become heaven for drugs. This evidently does not seem to be possible, at least, at the moment, but this can definitely pull seats for AAP.
The variety of incidences, which takes place in Punjab, is due to youth getting into wrong direction. Murder, robbery, rape and even teasing; these are common crimes in the state; Rahul Gandhi has hit the nail. We can see how Punjab has lost the battle against drug addiction even before it has begun, a study by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi, has indicated. It will take more than 10 years for the state government to provide even a single episode of treatment to addicts if it continues with the current strategies, the survey by the institute’s National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre says, painting a grim picture of the days ahead. A single episode of treatment is a standard course of treatment ranging from a minimum of four-to-six weeks to six months where the patient is given opioid substitution treatment (OST) that involves medication like methadone or buprenorphine to help him wean away from drugs. The study point out that Punjab does not have OST for the patients as a widely available therapy on a long-term basis. There is a huge gap in the availability of treatment services for opioid dependent individuals despite significant demand. OST is the most evidence-based treatment modality, which has been endorsed by United Nations and World Health Organisation as well as the Indian Psychiatric Society. In Punjab, less than 10% of patients have received OST ever, stated in study.
The survey, commissioned by the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment in August 2015, has in fact ridiculed the approach by the Punjab government, saying that it is only focused on rehabilitation centres. At a time when the nexus between terrorists and drug smugglers in Pakistan has come under a harsh spotlight after the Pathankot airbase attack, a new study by AIIMS has found that opioids worth Rs 7,500 crore are consumed in Punjab every year. Of these, heroin’s share is a massive Rs. 6,500 crore. This is a shocking disclosure given that almost all the heroin that comes to Punjab is through the Pakistan border, pumped in by smugglers allegedly aided by ISI. It is this smuggler network that the terrorists who attacked the Pathankot airbase are believed to have used.
The survey reveals that opioid-dependent people are spending approximately Rs 20 crore daily on these drugs. On an average a heroin-dependent individual spends about Rs. 1,400 per day. The study – ‘Punjab opioid dependence survey: estimation of the size of opioid dependent population in Punjab’ – was presented to Punjab health minister Surjit Kumar Jyani on January 6 but no action has been taken even today. The study was conducted between February and April 2015. Data was collected from 3,620 opioid dependents from 10 districts. Among the men aged between 18 and 35 years, four in 100 are opioid dependent; while 15 in 100 could be opioid users.
Drug smuggling cannot occur without the guard of police and politicians. Police protection cannot be assured without unspoken approval of politicians in power. Successive Punjab governments have turned a blind eye to drug smuggling because of the money that it brings and keeps the youth engaged so that they will never ask for their rights, Punjab youth either flee abroad or they are addicted to drugs, only 10% of youth are living on values in India.
The film can expose Punjab and its present scenario, but before audience could reach theatre some elements leaked this movie online by damaging the producer to keep up his own ego.
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