Maqboolpura’s Chacha fights a lonely battle - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Monday, May 13, 2019

Maqboolpura’s Chacha fights a lonely battle


Maqboolpura’s Chacha fights a lonely battle

GS PAUL
Tribune News Service
Amritsar, May 12

Each time the elections arrive, the issue of ‘drug abuse’ finds priority on the list of candidates, but little  they do to check the menace after winning.

On the outskirts of Amritsar is Maqboolpura, a locality that portrays the ground reality. A majority of residents here have lost their near and dear ones to drugs.  

Ask Balwinder Kaur who lost her 23-year-old son Mani to drugs five years ago. “The  kurta-clad politicians and their supporters come in big SUVs during election time. They make false promises that they will deal with the drug issue. Trusting them, we stand in queues to cast our vote, but are let down repeatedly,” she says 

Amid the high-octane campaigning by candidates of the Congress and SAD-BJP in Amritsar, 76-year-old resident of Maqboolpura and an Independent, Mohinder Singh, runs his campaign to generate support and awareness against drug abuse. 

He too lost his two sons —Surinder Singh and Balwinder Singh and brother Shavinder — due to overdose of intoxicants. 

He makes his livelihood by running a battery driven carriage. “In a democratic set up, it’s the power of vote that can change the command of a nation. I contested many elections, be it SGPC polls in 1975 or Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. I also contested Assembly elections in 2012 and Lok Sabha in 2014 when Capt. Amarinder Singh and Arun Jaitley were in the fray. I got 1,240 votes only and ended up getting my security deposit forfeited.  It happened on earlier occasions too, but I never bothered to lose my hard earned money. This is my way of releasing my anger against the prevailing governing system”, he said.

Born in village Barkan Korian near Lahore, he along with his family shifted here, post Partition. People in the locality affectionately calls him “Chacha” .They too know that he can never win, but still help him in his campaign. 

Mohinder Singh has been heading a party named “All India Garib Janta Dal”. He keeps with him a galla (donation box) in which the residents of the locality offer whatever little they could do to help him in election campaign. “I have covered all the urban Amritsar areas and now focus on Attari, Mehta, Rajasansi areas on my three-wheeler,” he says.

The story of agony and loss echoes across all 12 lanes of this village. Harjeet Kaur, who lived here since she was married 30 years ago, said she was witness to at least 500 deaths due to drugs. With no lessons learnt, there must be over 300 more who have been hooked to drugs here. She said they have decided to vote for ‘salai machine’, poll symbol of Mohinder. 

Modus operandi

Most of the residents here work as couriers for drug suppliers. In lieu of their service, they are given a cut from the consignment for their daily doze Jaswinder, maqboolpura resident

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