Sohal was hired as a volunteer by the Livingston Police
US-born Punjabi youngsters
taking to drugs, says expert
Tribune News Service
Sep. 16, 2005
A large number of the US-born Punjabi youngsters are falling
prey to killer drugs like cocaine, smack and marijuana as soon
as they graduate to high schools.
What is more shocking is that the Punjabi community in general
is neither much aware of the seriousness of the problem nor is
it doing anything tangible to curb the abuse of drugs. Mostly,
the Punjabi community is not even aware that their innocent-looking
school-going kids are deeply into drug addiction. This revelation
was made by Mr Tarlochan Sohal, the Reserve Police Officer working
with the Livingston City Police Department.
He claimed to be the lone Punjabi police officer in entire Merced
County of California state. Of 2.5 lakh people of the county,
nearly 10 per cent or 25000 were Punjabis. Interestingly, the
entire county had the lowest police-public ratio. There was one
cop for 15000 residents, he said.
I feel pained to tell you that roughly about 10 per cent
US-born Punjabi youngsters, particularly in California, are hooked
to drugs. The reasons for drug-addiction are mainly frustration,
lack of inspiration and deprivation from cultural roots. But I
am more concerned about what I would say is the sheer indifference
of Punjabi people towards this serious problem. They are hardly
doing anything to save their wards from falling prey to drugs,
he said during a chat with Jalandhar Plus.
Domestic violence, according to Mr Sohal, was another malady
which afflicted the Punjabi society there. Reporting to police
about this social problem was almost negligible.
Referring to the crime situation in California, he made an interesting
revelation that incidents of hate crime against Asians were on
the rise and so were the cases of burglaries. In fact, about
10 per cent of Americans are intolerant towards Asians to an extent.
There has been four to five per cent increase in crime in California
during the past two years, said Mr Sohal, who belonged to
Athola village here and had migrated to the US in 1986 after saying
goodbye to his job with the Punjab police.
He had to work hard and improve his educational qualifications
in the foreign land. He was appointed as a Reserve Police Officer
by Livingston City Police Chief two years back. The only
difference between regular police officers and us is that we are
free to fix our duty schedule.
He said despite his being the lone Punjab-born officer in the
Livingston Police Department, he had never faced any discrimination
on any account. No question of that. The police department
there is so professional that there is no scope for any kind of
discrimination or indifference towards anyone. Everyone has to
be very alert when on duty. Those found misusing the positions
on or off duty are taken to task, he added.