Attari/Ferozepur: The ruling Shiromani Akali Dal staged a dharna against the drug menace in Punjab near the international border and pitched for "greater awareness" and "vigilance along the border with Pakistan." The "awareness" dharnas were held close to the Attari, Hussainiwala and Sadiqi check points in Amritsar, Ferozepur and Fazilka districts respectively situated near Indo-Pak border.
Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister and SAD President Sukhbir Singh Badal along with other senior leaders like Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Janmeja Singh Sekhon, Tota Singh, Sikander Singh Maluka addressed the two-hour dharna at all the venues.
The Punjab government has been receiving flak over the drug menace in the state, while the SAD leaders have been busy in mobilizing support for the dharna. The sit-in was announced by the party to "pressurize the Border Security Force to stop entry of drugs into the state from Pakistan side".
However, in a climbdown from its earlier stance, SAD later said the proposed sit-in was "to create awareness about drugs rather than to pressurize the BSF to stop entry of drugs from Pakistan side".
The party had also blamed "some inimical forces" for tarnishing the image of Punjabis by branding them as "drug peddlers."
Besides seeking sealing of international border, SAD has demanding Centre to put a ban on "cultivating narcotics" in states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to eliminate the drug abuse.
Notably, SAD's ally BJP is also scheduled to launch its own campaign against drug menace. BJP chief Amit Shah would start his party's campaign on the issue from Amritsar on January 22.
Meanwhile, opposition Congress staged a separate sit-in at the district headquarters demanding dismissal of the Punjab government for allegedly "inciting people against the security forces".