JK News Today

 Jammu, December 20

Zorawar Singh Jamwal is a very familiar name in and around Jammu. Having successfully  carved niche as one of the top journalists of the state he has now taken up task of bringing in social reforms by establishing a team of like minded volunteers to fight drug menace under the banner of ‘Team Jammu’. He has bagged great success in short span of time. Following are excerpts of an interview of Zorawar singh with JK News Today

Q1: What is Team Jammu?zorawar-1

A: Team Jammu is a non-profit organization comprising of intellectuals from different walks of life, be it journalists, lawyers, doctors, businessmen, educated unemployed youths including engineers, technocrats and social workers working for the cause of commoners.

Q2: When was the idea of floating Team Jammu conceived?

A: It was floated all of a sudden in 2012 in a meeting with some of my friends while we were discussing about the social and political developments in the state. In the meeting, Everyone (friends) in the meeting  expressed concern over wide range of social and political challenges before the people of Jammu region. And I just sought their (Friends’) opinion that if I would come up with an initiative, whether they would favour me or not. Without waiting for a second, they said “Yes” and it led to the formation of Team Jammu.

Q3: Team Jammu is also working against drug mafias defiantly. What made you accept this challenge?

A: Since I am from journalism background, I had inputs that on the pattern of Punjab, drugs mafias are using Jammu based “carriers” to smuggle drugs among our youths to make them addict. In 2015, I started doing research on this issue personally as well as with the help of some active journalists. Let me tell you that I was taken by surprise to know that around  150 young girls and boys of Jammu, Samba, Reasi and Rajouri district had died of drugs abuse that year. So, I accepted this challenge and started raising voice against the drug mafias vigorously.

Q4: Since you decided to fight powerful drug mafias, I hope you too had faced some problems personally?

A: If your question is about-whether I feared about death, let me tell you that my parents had taught me that it is only almighty who has the power to decide about your death. So I never feared of getting killed by the “powerful” drug mafias. As far as other difficulties are concerned, I would say, “Yes I faced”. Because most of the drugs victim/deceased youths were/are from rich families, their parents tried to hush-up the reasons behind their falling health/deaths. They even didn’t allow police conduct the post-mortem of their children fearing stigma from the society. Had they cooperated and supported us, we might have helped the other youth falling into the death trap by pressurizing the police to identify and start acting against the drug mafias.

Q5So you want to say-police is not active?

A: No. I never said so. Before we launched a war against drug menace police was not that active (see the data of number of arrests and recoveries before November 2015). But once we came out on roads and met senior police officers and convinced them that drug menace is rapidly increasing among Jammu youths, they passed necessary directions down the line and strictly starting monitoring of police work at the grass-root level. Jammu police have been playing very active role under the incumbent DGP-K Rajendra, IGP Jammu-Danish Rana and SSPs concerned which is very evident from their special operations launched against the drug mafias. Even some blacksheep in Khaakhi were also arrested and booked under the law. If you read newspapers, you will come across two to three news items about the “major breakthrough” everyday. But as I said — Most of the victim youths were from rich families, their parents tried to hush-up the cases or refused to conduct post-mortem with the connivance of some of the police officers of lower rank. Had senior officers any idea, they would have reacted. Besides, we all have pledged to help those men in Khaakhis who are dealing with drug mafias with iron hands and to expose those black sheep in public who are hand-in-glove with drug lords.               

Q6: How is Team Jammu helping the ‘identified’ victims?

A: Last year, we helped 70  families of addicted children by admitting their wards in drugs de-addiction centres in Punjab since there is  no full-fledged 24X7 de-addiction center in entire Jammu Province. There are few counselling centers but my personal observation is they are good for nothing. Helping the needy people is a continuous process since then.

Q7: Do you think Team Jammu alone can make a difference in the war against drug mafias?

A: To answer your question, I would like to repeat an Urdu couplet-Akele Hi Chale The Janib-e-Manzil Lekin, Log Judate Gaye Aur Carvaan Banta Chala Gaya”. We started with a group of 8 to 10 friends and in just one year Team Jammu has force of 20,000 volunteers to fight drug addiction, which is increasing with each passing day.

Q8: What help J&K Govt. is providing you?

A: A delegation of Team Jammu members had called on Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh at his residence here in Jammu and urged the later to ensure that a debate on the floor of the House, during forthcoming Budget Session of the J&K Legislative Assembly, is planned to discuss a comprehensive action plan against the drug menace in Jammu and Kashmir. The Deputy Chief Minister has assured us that his government would look into the suggestions put forth by the team for tackling this social evil effectively. Besides, a delegation also met main opposition National Conference (NC) and Congress parties and sought their support to initiate a healthy debate while rising above party lines. NC Provincial President and MLA, Devinder Singh Rana and senior vic-president PCC, Sham Lal Sharma assured full support to Team Jammu and also assured of participation of their respective legislators in the debate  to make stringent laws.

Q 9: Team Jammu’s message to the general public?

A: Please keep a close watch on the activities of your children, his/her friend circle and other people he/she meets every day. Give time to your children out of your busy schedules to know about his/her requirements, problems and discuss everything with your children like a friend. Also ensure that your children are not depressed or living in alienation due to some personal problems. If he/she is, try to know those problems and find a peaceful solution to them. “Aaj Bachaoge to Kal Hoga Warna Charon Taraf Andhera Hoga”.

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