Drugs control officers condemn colleague's killing

Maitri Porecha New Delhi | Updated on March 31, 2019 Published on March 31, 2019

The All-India Drugs Control Officers’ Confederation (AIDCOC) has strongly condemned the cold-blooded murder of 36-year-old Neha Shoree, an officer in Punjab's Food and Drug Administration. The confederation has also called for nation-wide mourning following her death and has demanded a speedy probe to catch the mastermind behind her killing.

Shoree, who was the Zonal Licensing Authority at Mohali in Punjab, was killed in broad daylight in her office at Kharar by a chemist whose licence she had previously cancelled. While Shoree had cancelled her assailant, Balwinder Singh's licence in 2009, she was scheduled to depose before the court shortly. Singh, who was cornered minutes after he shot her, committed suicide.

AIDCOC has pointed out that many officers across Drug Control Offices work in vulnerable situations like Shoree. The body warned that the situation was alarming as the number of cases, including that of spurious drugs and illegal transit and sale of habit forming intoxicants in the pharmaceutical business were on the rise.

When Shoree raided Balwinder's chemist shop, she recovered 35 types of tablets used by drug addicts, for which he could not provide any supporting documents.

"Shoree was a bold and dedicated officer who lost her life while discharging her official duty. This is the situation in many of the Drugs Control Offices across the country, where we lack enough security and protection while discharging official duties. The nature of work of drugs control officials involves raids and investigations against illegal drug mafias and criminals, and many states do not have enough manpower and machinery to tackle such unscrupulous elements in society," said Ravi Uday Bhaskar, Secretary General of AIDCOC.

Bhaskar further said it is a challenging task for Drugs Control Departments to monitor such activities. "Now, most of the Drugs Control Departments have increased the strength of women officials also, with more than 30 per cent of the total strength across the country, and the government should take steps to provide a safe working environment to all officers."

AIDCOC has urged both the central and state governments’ intervention to immediately equip each Drugs Control Department with enough resources and infrastructure to face such unexpected incidents.

"As a mark of respect and solidarity with the brave deceased officer, AIDCOC has directed all members of its affiliated state associations to wear black ribbons on March 30 and April 1 and also to observe two minutes’ silence in all offices across the country, to pray for the departed soul," Bhaskar said.

Published on March 31, 2019
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