Advertisement
Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
Outlook.com
Opinion

Indignation In Their Veins

The excessively touchy response to Udta Punjab’s tale of a land bleached dry by drugs stems from the widely-alleged Akali complicity

Indignation In Their Veins
Eye Of The Needle |
Indignation In Their Veins
outlookindia.com
2016-06-15T12:27:59+05:30

Much before Pahlaj Nihalani stepped in to butcher the Anurag Kashyap-produced Udta Punjab with 89 cuts, including all references to Punjab, its trailer and edgy songs had created an expectant buzz in the state. The heady Chitta ve, a song about the white powder that has destroyed thousands of Punjabi households, is on every youngster’s playlist. More than that, there was a sense of authenticity about the way director Abhishek Chaubey has approached his job of depicting the hopelessness in the her­oin-addled countryside, backed with meticulous rese­arch. But new-age cinema’s allegiance to realism has attracted an unexpected enemy—politics.

To say drugs and politics go hand in hand in Punjab is an understatement. It dominates the social and political discourse and with assembly elections due in a few months, the ruling Akali Dal-BJP combine is showing signs of nervousness with the increasingly sharp attacks over its alleged role in the spread of drugs during its nine-year reign. For the better part of the last two years, the Akalis have spent their ene­rgies in shielding the powerful state revenue minister Bikram Singh Majithia—brother-in-law of deputy chief minister Sukh­bir Badal—from an Enforce­ment Directorate probe into his alleged involvement in the drug business. Three arrested drug smugglers had in their statements before the ED claimed Majithia provided the cover and shelter for drug cartels to operate in the state. The smugglers, Jagdish Bhola, Maninderjit Aulakh (a one-time Akali worker from Amritsar) and Jagjit Chahal, who ran a chemical factory that manufactured the popular party drug ‘ice’, told the ED that Majithia allowed them to use his official vehicle and gunmen for drug smuggling. Despite this, Majithia’s name was neither recorded, nor was he made an accused. Worse, Niranjan Singh, an upright officer in the ED’s Jalandhar office who dared to summon Majithia for questioning, was suddenly transferred out on the ground that investigation in the case was almost over. The doughty officer’s transfer was stayed only after he moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court and last August informed the court that the investigation is far from over.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Helicopter Carrying CDS Bipin Rawat Crashes Near Tamil Nadu's Coonoor, 4 Dead

Helicopter Carrying CDS Bipin Rawat Crashes Near Tamil Nadu's Coonoor, 4 Dead

The helicopter was reportedly flying from Sulur Airbase to Wellington with 14 personnel including senior officials on board.

Aung San Suu Kyi Verdict 'Disturbing' But Will It Change India's Equation With Myanmar?

Aung San Suu Kyi Verdict 'Disturbing' But Will It Change India's Equation With Myanmar?

While India has time and again appealed for rapprochement between the democratic forces and the military, it has continued to engage with the junta in Myanmar.

Ashes, 1st Test: Cummins Steals The Show On Rain-Affected Day 1

Ashes, 1st Test: Cummins Steals The Show On Rain-Affected Day 1

Pat Cummins made his captaincy debut in style with a fifer at The Gabba, helping Australia dismiss England for 147. Then rain arrived.

World Inequality Report 2022: Women’s Share In Labour Income Globally Less Than 35%, From 30% In 1990

World Inequality Report 2022: Women’s Share In Labour Income Globally Less Than 35%, From 30% In 1990

Coordinated by economists Lucas Chancel, Thomas Piketty, Emmanuel Saez, and Gabriel Zucman the study has a foreword by Nobel laureates Esther Duflo and Abhijit Banerjee.

Advertisement