In the heartland of Kapurthala’s rural communities, a disconcerting trend is unfolding as the drug trade continues to cast a dark shadow over the region. As husbands find themselves behind bars, their wives have taken up the mantle, emerging as key players in the illicit narcotics trade. Recent reports indicate that women in villages such as Dogranwal, Boot, Lakkhan Khole, and Hamira are increasingly becoming embroiled in the drug trade, with a surge in cases raising concerns among law enforcement and the local populace.
Over the past year alone, Subhanpur police station has registered a staggering 25 FIRs against women accused of peddling narcotics, shedding light on the expanding role of women in the drug trade. The prevalence of these cases isn’t confined to Subhanpur alone, as a senior police official suggests that the total figures for the district are likely much higher.
The evolution of this alarming trend has been swift and is closely tied to the rise of social media. Videos depicting women engaged in drug-related activities have gone viral, bringing their involvement to the forefront. Hardeep Singh, the SHO of Subhanpur, notes, “Women have been indulging in drug trade for long, but cases have started surfacing in recent times, ever since videos of them selling drugs began doing the rounds on social media.”
One striking case that came to public attention involved a teenage girl from Badshahpur, whose video selling drugs went viral in Kapurthala. Her father, already facing multiple charges under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, was joined in incarceration by her mother and brother, all facing similar allegations. This incident highlights the depth of the issue in the district.
The problem isn’t isolated to a single village; rather, it seems to have spread across multiple communities, with villages like Dogranwal, Boot, Lakkhan Khole, and Hamira becoming notorious hotspots for drug-related activities. Over the past six years, police sources reveal that at least 50 women from these villages have been booked under the NDPS Act, painting a grim picture of the drug trade’s grip on the hinterland.
What is even more concerning is that in a significant number of cases, women have entered the drug trade after their husbands were arrested for similar offenses. The cycle perpetuates as families attempt to make ends meet, often turning to the lucrative drug trade as a means of financial support.
Sukha Singh, who has tragically lost two brothers to the drug trade, expresses his concerns: “I want to save my next generation. There are 5-7 houses where women sell ‘chitta’. Some had gone to jail, but once out on bail, they resumed operations. It’s hard for them to give it up.”
Local law enforcement officials, including Vatsala Gupta, the Senior Superintendent of Police in Kapurthala, are acutely aware of the issue. Gupta acknowledges that awareness campaigns and search operations are regularly conducted to discourage people from engaging in drug-related activities. She notes, “Some women take to the trade when their husbands or kin are jailed.”
Assistant Sub-inspector Gurbachan Singh, who has been leading the charge against drug abuse, underscores the role of unemployment as a major factor driving both men and women into the drug trade. While campaigns urging individuals to seek rehabilitation have been launched, only a few have taken up the offer, leaving the community grappling with a growing drug problem.
The situation in Kapurthala’s villages is undeniably dire. As women increasingly take the reins in the drug trade, the need for comprehensive solutions, including addressing unemployment and offering rehabilitation, becomes ever more pressing. The communities must unite to break the cycle of drug-related crime, ensuring a brighter future for the generations to come.