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Kaffan Bol Peya’: A Father’s unique way to protest against Drug Menace

July 17, 2018 01:33 PM

Punjab News Express/Ravinder Singh Robin
Patti (Tarn Taran) : It is 8:30 in the morning and the early Sun is shining bright in this small and nondescript border town when a knock on the door disturbs the laying of breakfast in a normal middle income house. The door is opened and a man wearing black cloak which looks like a coffin is outside along with his aged wife. They introduce themselves as a beleaguered couple who lost their son to drugs two years back and they are going door to door now to make the people aware how drugs are ruining families and each one should protect their wards.

The family is surprised how the couple is pleading and they ask them to come in but they refuse saying this is holiday and this man Mukhtiyar Singh, a Linesman in the Punjab State Power Corporation Limited is on a mission. After loosing his son to the drugs abuse, he is set out to save the life of other families in the town in Tarn Taran district of Punjab. His black cloak has white words written in Punjabi ‘Kaffin Bol Peya’ (Kaffin is speaking).

Now he goes door to door wrapping himself in the Coffin and is trying to apprise the public that they should take care of their wards so that they should not become drugs addicts. “ I do not want other young son to fall prey to the drugs addiction. So I am going door to door to make the people aware about the menace of drugs prevailing in the area. My wife who was shattered following the death of our young son is always with me and we plead to families to take care of their wards”, he said to BBC.

Mukhtiyar is on the mission more on Saturday and Sundays when he is off the duty. Such is his influence in the town which was once not hot bed of terrorism in 1980s and 1990s that public call him ‘Kafan Wala Banda’. When his son died in 2016 he had taken the dead body of his son in the coffin to Sub Divisional Magistrate, the highest raking government official int he town and there were plea written on it which he wanted the SDM to take as his memorandum to the government to check the drugs menace.

Once hit by the militancy the area is badly infected with drugs addiction today and every third house is having a drug addict as per the rough estimates. He writes on the clock a slogan “Kafan bol paya, Nasha bhajao, Putt bachao (Coffin speaks, get rid of drugs and save the sons), His wife Bhupinder Kaur helps her husband in the drive and carried picture of his deceased son Manjit Singh who they lost on March 26, 2016 to an overdose of drugs.

Before consigning mortal remains of his son , Mukhtiar Singh marched on the streets of Patti with his son Manjit’s body.

It was to awake the administration from its slumber that he took his dead son’s body to SDM that day. That was the turning point in the life of Mukhtiar Singha and his wife who decided to dedicate their life for the eradication of drug menace from Tarn Taran.

“We don’t belongs to any political party, we are just parents of son who perished to drugs and we don't want any other family to go through the same pain,” said the couple. Mukhtiar Singh’s job takes him to various villages every day where he interact with with people and make them aware of the dangers of drug addiction.

Singh also wrote a latter to Prime minister Narendra Modi however he doesnt’ know the fate of his letter, whether it has reached to the prime minister. Mukhtiar said when they came to know that their son was in grip of drugs, they tried their best to save him but all efforts went in vain. “his end was very tragic” said he.

He is of course disappointed with the governments approach towards its fight against drug abuse. Singh believes that successive governments in Punjab were not serious to curb drug smuggling, paddling and abuse.

Satnam Kaur, a resident whose door was knocked was shocked and when they listen to his tale of woes she wanted entire family to hear him and how the fate stuck on this family. He is doing great job by making people aware about the menace of drugs. Balwinder Singh, a shopkeeper said that he (Mukhtiyar) is fighting a lonely battle and he appreciate his courage. More such movements are required to create awareness, said he.

“Our efforts we only intended to educate public about drug-addiction’s deadly effect in daily life, as drugs have been noticed being the root cause of many crimes and social evils in the area”, says Bhupinder Kaur.

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