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India: Punjab Governor directs cops to thwart efforts to revive Khalistan movement in state

The governor of Punjab, Banwarilal Purohit, ordered the state police to foil attempts to revive the Khalistan movement in Punjab on Thursday and instructed sarpanches of border villages to write immediately to him about anyone participating in drug smuggling.

The governor was in Punjab’s border districts for a two-day trip. Speaking to a group of village leaders at MR Government College in Fazilka, Purohit claimed that the ease with which narcotics are available poses a severe problem because even young adults are developing drug addictions.

“We all have a duty to perform to curb the drug menace. There are people in our villages who are hand in glove with cross-border drug dealers. You should send a letter with details of such elements to the Raj Bhawan where police action would be ensured while protecting the identity of complainants,” said the governor.

It was Purohit’s third public address in the south Malwa districts of Fazilka and Ferozepur since April last year where he had been emphasising action against drug smuggling and illegal sand mining.

Purohit’s field visits and media interactions in the last 11 months has led to strained relations between the Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and the Raj Bhawan.

Accompanied by state chief secretary (CS) Vijay Kumar Janjua and director general of police Gaurav Yadav, the governor addressed sarpanches of the two border districts and again expressed concern over the easy availability of drugs across Punjab.

Both top officials refrained from making any comment on the governor’s observations.

Addressing a press conference at Genesis Institute of Dental Science and Research in Ferozepur, Purohit said that some individuals coming to Punjab from abroad are trying to revive the separatist movement. “A few people with criminal background are using the platform of Khalistan to hide their evil faces. These people should be taken to the task immediately,” said the governor.

He said in the last few months, more than 4,000 mobile phones have been seized from gangsters lodged in Punjab jails for drug smuggling. “While efforts are being made to install mobile phone jammers within 5km radius of prisons, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is working to check infiltrations of drones from across the border. The fight against drugs is crucial to protect our younger generation where participation of all stakeholders is significant,” he added.

The governor rejected accusations from the AAP leadership that he was engaging in political activity and instead claimed that his travels were related to raising social awareness. 

“As the executive leader of the state, it is my responsibility to recognise the major problems that the populace faces and to help find solutions.

 In an effort to better understand the local situation and to immediately convey his opinions and observations on the most important topics, he noted that he exclusively does press conferences in border regions and not in Chandigarh.

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