Spurious Drugs: Civil Society Ups Pressure on Govt

‘Sharma should resign; Omar, Soz shielding culprits’

SRINAGAR: Forum Against Spurious Drugs (FASD), a civil society group formed to fight against the menace of fake drugs in Jammu and Kashmir, Thursday threatened to launch a state wide agitation if the government failed to take action against the guilty.

The FSAD is an amalgam of Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK), High court Bar Association, Medical Employees Joint Action Forum, Kashmir Economic Alliance and J&K RTI Movement.

DAK President Dr Nisar-ul-Hassan who has been elected chairman of the FASD said that they have no faith on the probe being conducted by the Crime Branch of police and the State Vigilance Commission in the case.

“Crime Branch (CB) is shielding former Health Minister Sham Lal Sharma in the case. In the preliminary investigations by the CB, the name of Sharma appears nowhere although he was the minister incharge,” he alleged.

“Till Sharma is in the cabinet, free and fair probe into the case is impossible. If state government is serious about the case, they should drop Sharma from the cabinet,” he demanded.

Dr Hassan termed the role of central government in the case as disgusting. “The UPA government dropped two union ministers when corruption charges surfaced against them. But here in Kashmir no action has been taken against those whose names have surfaced in the fake drug scam,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, the SAD held a meeting where the issue of spurious drug scam was discussed at length. “It was unanimously resolved that as a responsible forum we cannot afford to keep silent on this gruesome issue but will give more impetus to the struggle to meet the demands vis-à-vis the scam of supply of spurious drugs and will lead the issue to its logical end,” a spokesperson of the Forum said.

The Forum criticized the recent statement of the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on the scam which they said was unacceptable. “Instead of acting on the evidences that are so abundant, he (Omar) is talking of not having any. The supply of spurious drugs in the state has been acknowledged by the Drug Controller General of India in his latest report. Omar seems to be more concerned for his political allies rather than caring for the innocent people who are suffering because of these spurious drugs. It is not only Sharma, who should own the responsibility, being the then head of the department, but also the Chief Minister who should also take the moral responsibility and take necessary immediate action in this regard,” the Forum demanded.

The Forum also criticized the role of State Congress Chief Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz in ‘shielding the tainted minister’ Sharma and sharing the dias with him in Ganderbal in a recently held meeting. “Irony of fate can also be measured that Mohan Prakash of PCC (in-charge Kashmir Affairs) sharing the same dias at Danderbal did not even utter a word about this inhumane drug scam but went on to campaign for seeking votes in the forthcoming elections,” the Forum spokesperson added.

The Forum claimed that the spurious drug menace in society was not an individual aberration “but it seems a state backed phenomenon, the feeling of which we get by the insensitive and irresponsible attitude of the government as there are all around efforts afoot to hush up the matter with a sinister design to protect the culprits involved in the scam, thereby endangering the life of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in general.”

The Forum also believes that the politicians are trying to politicize the issue by giving it a regional colour. “And we affirm that we will not allow it to happen as the issue is purely humane in nature concerning the life of the people. As a matter of fact, these spurious drugs have also been used in other parts of the state, as such, the issue is equally a matter of concern for them,” it said.

The Forum demanded that Sharma should immediately stand down on moral grounds and the members of the Central Purchase Committee/Verifying Committee should be suspended forthwith “as they are directly involved in the purchase and procuring the spurious drugs.”

They also demanded that all drugs need to be analyzed in all hospitals and open market and all those victims who have died due to consuming of these spurious drugs need be compensated properly.

“The central purchase committee or the verifying committee be made more accountable and transparent so that the people get genuine drugs in hospitals,” the Forum demanded.

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