Gurdaspur: Sunita Singh was dressed in her bridal outfit, red salwar-kameez, when she spotted her groom as he approached the gurudwara where the ceremony was to be held on Sunday.
- Bride notices groom stumbling, complains to cops
- Groom tests positive for addiction to opioid painkillers
- Punjab trying to battle huge drug epidemic among young men
Jaspreet Singh, a truck driver, appeared high as he stumbled towards the Sikh temple in their village in Gurdaspar, close to the Pakistan border.
Sunita, 22, decided it was over. She walked away from the altar - and to a police station.
Her ex-fiancee could not be tested for drug use at a local health centre because basic equipment was missing. Sunita refused to quit; at her insistence, he was taken to a private lab and tested positive for an addiction to opioid painkillers, a common constituent of the drug epidemic among young men in Punjab.
"When I learned that he (Jaspreet) was drugged, I decided I couldn't spend my life with him. In the long run, not only me, but my children would also bear the brunt of this," she said.
The local Red Cross de-addiction centre is now planning to award Sunita for her courage. "To be able to stand her ground in this way makes hers an eye-opener for several other women across the state," said Ramesh Mahajan, a Red Cross Official.
"Being the daughter of a truck-driver, she (Sunita) knows the perils of the drug problem and its vulnerabilities. Her father and entire family are proud of Sunita's decision," said a relative who did not want to be named.
Drug addiction among young men in Punjab is so great an epidemic that in the elections held in February, all major political parties emphasized plans for tougher punishment and much broader access to de-addiction and rehabilitation centres. Captain Amarinder Singh of the Congress, who was elected Chief Minister, has formed a special task-force to combat the sale of drugs. The government claims close to 1,000 arrests in the last two months in this context.