THE Goa police have seized drugs worth over Rs 41.5 crore and arrested 84 persons for their involvement in drug trafficking in the past eight months. The police drive got a push following the death of two young domestic tourists from suspected drug overdose. Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar’s direction to the police to act strongly to curb drug sale also drove them to shed their complacency. The police this time did not spare even the consumers. Over the last fortnight at least two dozen alleged drug peddlers and consumers have been arrested. Deputy Inspector General of Police Vimal Gupta says the police have booked 27 cases and arrested 27 persons. Had the police shown the kind of zeal they have over the last one month, deaths of the two tourists could have been prevented.
Drugs have been available in different forms in the coastal stretch of Goa for several years. It has got the state a bad name. There was a time when it was dismissed as a problem of foreigners. There was time when it was dismissed as a problem of nationals of one particular Middle East country. In any case, until recently, it was dismissed as a problem that did not affect the Goan population at all. Gradually all these myths have been busted. The involvement of Goans is getting to be the rule, rather than an exception.
It is intriguing that despite the full knowledge of the route the drugs take to reach Goa and then circulate in the state clandestinely the police have not been able to control the problem. DIG Vimal Gupta admits the police are aware that drugs are being brought into the state from Pakistan, Afghanistan and European countries. The police are also aware, he says, that the chain of drug peddlers, suppliers and drug addicts is well organised. The claim about existence of a chain must have been made on the basis of the intelligence gathered. If the police know about the existence of a chain, why is it that they have not been able to lay their hands on the suppliers, peddlers or drug addicts? It is surprising that none of the kingpins in the drug trade have ever been apprehended so far. The police owe an explanation to the Goans on their inability to contain the drug trade despite their knowledge of how it comes and how it is traded.
The police claim they have been sensitizing their staff of every rank and holding workshops on curbing drug trade. More than sensitizing what is needed is close supervision of the officials of the police stations, without whose complicity drugs cannot be sold. The police bosses are aware that drug use is common at music parties and in clubs. It is not limited to coastal areas; drugs have spread even in hinterland, including remote villages. The police are aware of the fact that quite a large number of state youth are addicted to ganja because it is easily available and affordable. They can easily lay traps for peddlers if they can nab the end users. The DGP has to send out a no-nonsense message to police station officials that they want results. In order to track the couriers of synthetic drugs the police should use modern technologies and seek help from central and foreign agencies.
The police say Goa is a transit point in the drug supply business. It is time they force the drug peddlers to shift from here. If they can arrest one or more persons a day as has been the case in the last month, what prevents the police from carrying out their action-packed drive round the year? Some politicians have claimed to know of a nexus between police officials and drug peddlers. They must share the information with the director general of police. The DGP is the boss of the police officials. He would be eager to know which of his juniors are in nexus with drug peddlers, so that he can take action against them. As synthetic drugs are smuggled in by foreigners, the police must identify them by seeking the help of Interpol. The foreigners caught in drug trafficking cases should be detained in a specially created detention centre and not released on bail until the police have got all the information out of them. If necessary, the law should be changed to incorporate such provisions. Amendment should be made to increase the punishment for possession of drugs to make it more deterrent. The police have sought public assistance to eliminate drugs. The public will come forward only when they are convinced that the police have really set for themselves a mission to eliminate drugs and are committed to accomplish it.