Saturday , 20 April 2019

Going All Out After Drug Pushers

The outgoing Director General of Police T N Mohan has claimed that the state police have been able to marginalize the Nigerian drug pushers and the supply of drugs has been curtailed to a significant extent; and operations of drug pushers have been made difficult. If that indeed is the case, the state police deserve praise for containing the drug-pushing Nigerians who were involved in a turf war and would not flinch from taking law into their hands. Of course, Nigerians alone are not into it. There are Russians, Israelis and Indians including locals also into it. They too should be dealt with similar severity.
The police claim of having been able to curtail the supply of drugs would be put to test in the days ahead. The law enforcing agency just cannot relax at having been able to contain the drug-pushing factions among Nigerians and would have to be on constant vigil to ensure that the drug pushers do not make entry through the backdoor using others to carry on the trade. The state police managed to seize only 40 kg of ganja, which is considered a soft drug, and which many in the police as well as in society feel was too little, given the fact that drugs are available almost at all the places in the state nowadays. While ganja, a cheap drug, has been confiscated in “reasonably good” quantity, the seizure of hard drugs like LSD, heroin and methamphetamine has been minimal which begs an answer as to why the police were unable to contain it. The seizure of costly and more lethal psychotropic drugs perhaps is less as it is dispensed by the dealers to the peddlers in lesser quantities given its premium cost as also harsh punishment for possessing it in larger quantities. Despite the constraints however, the police in the state managed to seize LSD (liquid and paper) worth around Rs 10 crore last year, which was highest in all India for the given period. The dealers of costly psychotropic drugs exercise all cautions and peddlers in bigger numbers are used in dispensing the drugs to the users so as to continue the supply chain and ensure that minimum number of people is nabbed by the police or Anti-Narcotic sleuths.
Drug pushing is nothing new to the state. Its prevalence can be traced to the advent of the hippie tourism in the 1970s when there was very little awareness of the risks and very little control. As tourism picked up the drug trade, which was limited to foreigners, also increased and now even the locals are also into it. It is common knowledge that trading of high-end psychotropic drugs in the state was controlled by foreigners and that of ganja by both locals as well as foreigners. Despite public outcry the police failed to take appropriate steps and allowed foreigners to develop a strong foothold, leading to public accusations that there was police-drug dealers’ nexus. It was only after growing uproar from various quarters of the Goan society that the government handed over the probe to Central Bureau of Investigation. The CBI, however, failed to find evidence of nexus between police and drug dealers despite prolonged investigation. There have also been allegations of political patronage being enjoyed by the drug mafia in the state. The state authorities, including that of the police, have admitted that the state was facing a problem on the psychotropic drugs front and that the drug trade cannot be totally eliminated from the state.
Given the impact the drug trade has had on the Goan society, especially the youth, it would be in the interest of the people for the government agencies to coordinate their activities to totally eliminate it so as to prevent generations being “wiped out”. The police must be given a free hand to deal with those involved in the drug trade and at the same time held accountable for lapses. The outgoing DGP has hinted that the police as well as bureaucracy works under particular circumstances and limitations, which were inherent with any job the officials try to do. He also hinted that the officials do not get a totally level-playing field and have to deal with curtailed finances, resources and manpower in carrying out their duties. He, however, said that the officials would continue to have restrictions, constraints and that happens everywhere and that they have to find ways to carry out their designated duties within those restrictions to achieve objectives and goals. The government should ensure that law enforcing authorities get the manpower, equipment and gadgets to carry out the fight against the drug menace and free it from the evil.

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