Now, fake de-addiction centre in Udta Punjab

Amristsar: A team of the Punjab Government’s health department, on Wednesday, freed eight youth from a de-addiction centre called ‘Parivartan’ in village Rajowal near Manawala in Amritsar district. When the team, acting on a tip-off, raided the centre, it found the eight youth held prisoner there. They related their tale of woes to the team.

One of them was preparing rotis for breakfast while another was doing laundry. The rooms were smelly and there was only burly guard in the name of staff. Sukhwinder Singh Luthra alias Lucky, the owner of the centre, is on the run.

‘Rajma’ as medicine

Civil Surgeon Dr Hardeep Singh Ghai said that not a single medicine, not even a first-aid kit, was found at the centre.

The youths told the health department team that whenever they demanded medicines, they were asked to close their eyes and a grain of ‘Rajma’ was dropped into their mouths. In the beginning, they were given two tablets of Cetirizine (an antihistamine which causes mild sedation) every day. But later, even that was stopped. Whenever they demanded medicines, they were beaten up with sticks and the beating was so severe that most could not stand on their feet for days.

Severe beatings

One of the youths shows the bruises on his back

Jadiala Guru resident Maninder Singh told the team that his family members had admitted him to the centre four months back. He was so sick of the place that one day he decided to escape by breaking the window grill. He failed and the next day, he was hung upside-down from the ceiling and beaten black and blue by the owner Lucky. The bruises caused by the beating were visible on his back even a month after the incident.

The inmates had to wash the clothes brought by Lucky, cook food for his home and press his feet. That was the only physical exercise they did.