Illegal de-addiction centre sealed, 26 patients rescued from Punjab’s Jandiala

A team of district health officials on Wednesday sealed an illegal de-addiction centre at Rajewal village in Jandiala block after rescuing 26 patients from there.

Officials said the patients were confined to two rooms of a building and physically tortured.

The patients, after being rescued, were shifted to government-run Swami Vivekanada Drug De-addiction Centre at Government Medical College in Amritsar.

Civil surgeon Dr Hardeep Singh Ghai said the team, comprising assistant civil surgeon Dr Kirandeep Kaur, senior medical officer (SMO) of Manawala community health centre (CHC) Dr Nirmal Singh and deputy mass media officer Amardeep Singh, raided the illegal de-addiction facility on Wednesday morning following a tip-off.

“When the team reached the de-addiction centre, it found that 26 patients were held captive in two rooms with some staff members standing guard outside. The team rescued the patients and questioned the staff,” he said.

“The team also found that the centre was being run without any registration and the patients were being treated inhumanly,” he added.

“No doctor or nurse was present when the team raided the centre,” he said, adding that the illegal clinic had been sealed.

Another health official said as the centre was not registered, the team had lodged a complaint with police. “As per our preliminary investigation, the centre was being run by a person named Sandhu,” he said.

However, the team could not contact the owner of the centre, he said. It was now for the police to investigate the case and arrest the owner of the centre, the team members said.

The de-addiction centre was charging Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per patient, they added.

A 40-year-old patient from Chheharta area said life at the centre was worse than hell. “Around six months ago, my in-laws admitted me to the centre. I was treated like an animal. The people at the centre used to give me electric shocks and spit on my face,” he said.

Another patient said, “I was at the centre for the last three months. The quality of the food served to us was very bad. Mostly, we were given chapattis, that too without any vegetable.”

“Earlier there were 35 patients, but nine managed to flee,” said another patient.

Dr Ghai said people should visit de-addiction and rehabilitation facilities run by the government as they had trained manpower, adequate medicines and good infrastructure.

In November last year, the health officials had rescued 22 patients after conducting a raid at an illegal de-addiction centre in Jain Colony at Manawala village of Amritsar district.

First Published:
Jun 13, 2019 13:23 IST

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